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Cosmic Origins (COR) Studies

Large UV/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR)

The Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) is a concept for a highly capable, multi-wavelength observatory with ambitious science goals. This mission would enable a great leap forward in a broad range of astrophysics, from the epoch of reionization, through galaxy formation and evolution, to star and planet formation. LUVOIR also has the major goal of characterizing a wide range of exoplanets, including those that might be habitable—or even inhabited.

LUVOIR is one of four Decadal Survey Mission Concept Studies initiated in January 2016. The study will extend over three years and be will executed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, under the leadership of a Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) drawn from the community.

  • LUVOIR Mission Concept Study Final Report [PDF]
  • More information may be found on the LUVOIR website.

    The Origins Space Telescope (OST)

    The Origins Space Telescope (OST) is one of the four Decadal Survey Mission Concept Studies initiated in January 2016. The study is being executed at Goddard Space Flight Center, under the leadership of a community-based Science and Technology Definition Team.

    The OST team is developing two concepts for a Far-Infrared Surveyor mission, as described in the Astrophysics Roadmap. It will address a wide variety of topics that can be studied at Far-IR wavelengths, ranging from Exoplanets to planetary system formation to star-formation on scales both large and small to the rise of metals in the Universe over cosmic time.

  • Origins Mission Concept Study Report [PDF]
  • More information may be found at the OST websites:

    http://origins.ipac.caltech.edu/ and https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/firs/

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx)

    The Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) is a concept for a mission to directly image planetary systems around Sun-like stars. HabEx will be sensitive to all types of planets; however, its main goal is, for the first time, to directly image Earth-like exoplanets and characterize their atmospheric content. By measuring the spectra of these planets, HabEx will search for signatures of habitability such as water, and be sensitive to gases in the atmosphere possibility indicative of biological activity, such as oxygen or ozone. In addition to the search for life on Earth-like exoplanets, HabEx will enable a broad range of general astrophysics, from studying the earliest epochs of the history of the Universe, to understanding the life cycle and deaths of the most massive stars, which ultimately supply the elements that are needed to support life as we know it.

  • HabEx Final Report [PDF]
  • More information may be found on the HabEx website.


    The Lynx mission concept seeks to provide unprecedented X-ray vision into the universe. Lynx will directly observe the dawn of supermassive black holes, reveal the drivers of galaxy formation, trace stellar activity (including effects on planet habitability), and transform our knowledge of endpoints of stellar evolution. Expanding on the legacy of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Lynx’s design will include excellent angular resolution, high throughout, a large field-of-view, and high spectral resolution for both point-like and extended sources.

  • Lynx Concept Study Report [PDF]
  • More information may be found on the Lynx website: https://wwwastro.msfc.nasa.gov/lynx/

    Hubble Completion

    The Hubble Space Telescope is in a decaying orbit. To prevent the hazards created by such an event, the Cosmic Origins Program Office has undertaken a study of ways to complete the mission of the great observatory, either by controlled re-entry or placement into a long life orbit.

  • Early Hubble Orbit Study HST Darmstadt Final [PDF]
  • HST Completion Plan HQ 060712 Presentation Final [PDF]
  • HST Completion Report 18 Dec Rev 1 [PDF]
  • Euro Conf Space Debris-Hull 4-19-2013 Revised [PPT]
  • NASA, SpaceX to Study Hubble Telescope Reboost Possibility

    NASA and SpaceX have signed a Space Act Agreement to study the feasibility of a SpaceX idea to boost Hubble into a higher orbit with the Dragon spacecraft, at no cost to the government. Read more.

    COR News and Events

    See our new Events Calendar

    Current and Upcoming Events

    Continuing Call for Nominations to the Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG) Executive Committee. »  Details.
    5 December 2022
    IR STIG Seminar: Two talks presented by Dr. Vivian U (UC Irvine) and Dr. Jake Connors (NIST-Boulder) »  Details.
    12–14 December 2022
    Conference: First Science Results from JWST »  Details.
    13 December 2022
    AGN SIG Seminar: Magnetic fields as the cause or effect of the origin of radio-loud and radio-quiet AGN »  Details.
    13 December 2022
    Stars SIG Seminar:Stars at Radio Frequencies: What we learn and how we use it »  Details.

    Join the COR News Email List

    Program News and Announcements

    2 December 2022
    Join the New Great Observatories Science Analysis Group »  Details.
    17 November 2022
    JWST/Cosmic Origins Science Presented to US Congress! »  Details.
    31 October 2022
    Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group Executive Committee Nominations »  Details.
    9 September 2022
    ASD Call for Nominations to the COPAG Executive Committee »  Details.

    Project News


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    • NASA Official: Phil Newman
    • Web Curator: Pat Tyler
    Goddard Space Flight Center