New Report Evaluates Redesign of Planned Space Telescope


The National Research Council's most recent survey of astronomy and astrophysics research with the greatest potential for scientific discovery ranked the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) as the top large space mission for this decade. In 2012, NASA received hardware from the National Reconnaissance Office that could expand the scientific scope envisioned for WFIRST and would allow for the addition of a coronagraph, an instrument that would enhance the study of exoplanets. 


A new report from the National Research Council evaluates the new design for the space telescope, known as WFIRST/AFTA, both with and without the coronagraph, on the basis of science objectives, technical complexity, and programmatic rationale, including projected costs.  The report does not recommend which design NASA should adopt.



Advance copies of the report, Evaluation of the Implementation of WFIRST/AFTA in the Context of New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, will be available to reporters only beginning at noon EDT Monday, March 17.  The report is under embargo and not for public release before 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, March 18.  To obtain an embargoed copy, contact the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail