Lockheed Martin has started develop an optical payload that could support NASA‘s research on a mysterious force called dark energy which causes the universe to expand.
Lockheed said Thursday NASA selected the company’s Palo Alto, California-based Advanced Technology Center to start the formulation phase of the Wide-Field Optical-Mechanical Assembly.
NASA could choose WOMA to serve as the core of the primary scientific instrument aboard the space agency’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope which will work to discover galaxies and study the physics that shapes them, Lockheed added.
WOMA is based on the Near Infrared Camera that ATC developed as the primary optical instrument of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
The instrument will work to complete the census of known exoplanets through microlensing, Lockheed noted.
NASA plans to launch WFIRST in the mid-2020s to help scientists monitor 200 million stars every 15 minutes for more than a year.
The agency will select a design for production in 2018.