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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’s First Asteroid Sample
    Has Landed,
    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.

    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.
    2 October 2023
    IR STIG Seminar »  Details
    3 October 2023
    Galaxies SIG Seminar »  Details
    25 October 2023
    JWST Call for Proposals for Cycle 3 »  Details.

    Join the COR News Email List

    Program News and Announcements

    29 September 2023
    Infrared Science and Technology Integration Group (IR STIG) Webinar | Monday, 2 October 2023, 3:00 PM ET »  Details.
    29 September 2023
    AWESOM SAG Meeting | Friday, October 6, 2023, 11am – noon ET »  Details.
    29 September 2023
    Community Input for the Cosmic Origins Precursor Science Gaps | November, 17th 2023 »  Details.
    22 September 2023
    Diffuse Gas in Cosmic Ecosystems Science Interest Group | September 28, 2023 – 4pm EST / 1 PM PST »  Details.
    22 September 2023
    Windows on the Universe: Establishing the Infrastructure for a Collaborative Multi-messenger Ecosystem | October 16 – 18, Tucson, AZ »  Details.
    22 September 2023
    Galaxies Science Interest Group (Galaxies SIG) Seminar | Tuesday October 3rd, 2023 at 1pm ET »  Details.
    22 September 2023
    NASA’s Webb Telescope Inspires ARTECHOUSE Exhibit, Public Art »  Details.

    Project News


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