NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman mission provided detectors for Japan’s PRIME telescope

(ORDO NEWS) — In the image, Billy Keim, a NASA technician, can be seen removing a 16-megapixel detector from the inside of a shipping container, while engineer Stephanie Cheung coordinates the work.

NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be equipped with 18 of these infrared detectors, which have already been approved for flight.

The team has additional detectors that will be used for other purposes. Engineers have reserved six of the remaining detectors for use as backups and a few more for testing. Additional spare detectors can be used in other telescopes.

Scientists from the Nancy Grace Roman mission provided four detectors for the 64-megapixel camera of Japan’s Prime-focus Infrared Microlensing Experiment (PRIME) telescope at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland.

The detectors were donated under an international agreement between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The telescope, scheduled to go online this fall, will hunt for exoplanets using a microlensing technique. The scientists of the Nancy Grace Roman mission will use the results of the PRIME survey to inform their observational strategy.

The experience with detectors like those in Nancy Grace Roman will help scientists prepare their data analysis techniques to capitalize on the vast amount of data from the telescope, which will be launched no later than May 2027.

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