With the James Webb house Telescope continuing its empowerment section, NASA already wants ahead to its next major space observatory, the Nancy Grace Roman space Telescope. Presently regular to launch in 2027, Roman can observe the universe to answer crucial queries required for the full understanding of our universe, particularly within the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astronomy.
According to a new study published by a team of researchers from the University of Arizona, Roman will be able to use one of its onboard instruments to measure a specific kind of space dust littered around the habitable zones of the planetary system, thereby helping astronomers learn more about habitable planets beyond the solar system.
“If we don’t find much of this dust around a particular star, that means future missions will be able to see potential planets relatively easily,” said Ewan Douglas, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the lead author of a paper describing the results. “But if we do find this kind of dust, we can study it and learn all kinds of interesting things about its sources, like comets and asteroids in these systems, and the influence of unseen planets on its brightness and distribution. It’s a win-win for science!”
So, however, will the telescope observe such fine dust from several kilometers away? For this, we’d like to understand a lot regarding the zodiacal dust, the tiny rocky grains, for the most part, left behind by colliding asteroids and crumbling comets. In our solar system, they are often found in areas spanning from close to the Sun to the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Once determined, it’s the brightest thing within the solar system, besides the Sun itself.