NASA has selected the Goddard Space Flight Center’s team of industry and academic investigators to build a spectrometer that will work to support planet formation research aboard NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.
The space agency said Thursday the High Resolution Mid-InfrarEd Spectrometer will be built by a team of investigators with GSFC senior scientist Samuel Harvey Moseley as principal investigator.
“HIRMES will help researchers determine the location of the raw materials that are the building blocks of life and how their position within the interstellar medium helps planetary systems, like our own solar system, evolve,“ said Hashima Hasan, SOFIA program scientist at NASA.
HIRMES will work to to detect neutral atomic oxygen, water as well as normal and heavy hydrogen molecules at infrared wavelengths between 28 and 112 microns to help reveal how water vapor, ice, and oxygen combine during the planet formation process, NASA noted.
The agency expects to begin solicitation for the next instrument on SOFIA, a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner that serves as a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, in 2017.
Investigators that will help build HIRMES are from:
- Space Dynamics Lab
- Precision Cryogenic Systems
- University of Michigan
- University of Maryland
- Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Johns Hopkins University
- Space Telescope Science Institute
- Cornell University
- University of Rochester