The far-infrared region of the spectrum is critical for probing the cool, dense interstellar medium out of which new stars and planetary systems form. In recent years, the enhanced capabilities of Herschel and other facilities have provided a wide range of exciting new results ranging from molecules observed in protostellar disks to distant galaxies observed in dust continuum and fine structure cooling lines. New and anticipated suborbital flights (SOFIA and balloons) and space missions will further enhance observational capabilities. The multiplicity of observing platforms and the development of new instrumentation are important considerations for future far-infrared astronomy initiatives.
Since 2002, with refinements in the years leading up to the 2010 Decadal Survey, the community has steadfastly supported a widely-publicized plan for U.S. involvement in space-based far-IR astrophysics. However, the programmatic landscape has changed as a result of new scientific results, community priorities, advancements in key technology areas, and budget pressures. It is now time to revisit the 'Far-IR Community Plan,' and chart a path forward that addresses science questions of Decadal significance by optimally tapping international efforts and wisely exploiting constrained resources.
This Infrared Science Interest Group [SIG #1] will work with the COPAG to collect community input and address long-term objectives of the far-infrared astronomy community. Through the SIG, the community will update the existing community-based roadmap for technology development for missions of different scales. The SIG will organize a community workshop (tentatively, Spring 2014) to assist in the collection of community input. The SIG activities are expected to occur over an extended period of time, with results reported at periodic intervals (quarterly or semi-annually) to the COPAG Executive Committee and the Astrophysics Subcommittee.
For more information, please see https://fir-sig.ipac.caltech.edu/
NASA’s First Asteroid Sample
Now Secure in Clean Room
Congratulations OSIRIS-REx! After years of anticipation and hard work by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team, a capsule of rocks and dust collected from asteroid Bennu finally is on Earth. It landed at 8:52 a.m. MDT (10:52 a.m. EDT) on Sunday. Read more.
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