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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 Large Mission Study Interim 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 Space Telescope Large Mission Study Interim 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 Large Mission Study Interim 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.

  • Read the Lynx Concept Study report here:[PDF]

  • More information may be found on the Lynx website: https://wwwastro.msfc.nasa.gov/lynx/

    Hubble Disposal

    The Hubble Space Telescope is in a decaying orbit that will cause an uncontrolled re-entry in around 2025. To prevent the hazards created by such an event, the Cosmic Origins Program Office has undertaken a study of a mission to dispose of the great observatory, either by controlled re-entry or placement into a long life orbit.

  • Early Study of Disposal HST Darmstadt Final [PDF]
  • HST Disposal Plan HQ 060712 Presentation Final [PDF]
  • HST Disposal Report 18 Dec Rev 1 [PDF]
  • Euro Conf Space Debris-Hull 4-19-2013 Revised [PPT]
  • Webb Ships to Launch Site
    in August

    James Webb Space Telescope

    On Schedule to Launch

    COR News and Upcoming Events

    Join the COR News Email List

    Program News and Announcements

    Continuing call for nominations to the Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG) Executive Committee. »  Details.
    30 May 2021
    Second QUEST Meeting and Presentation to be held 03 June 2021. »  Details.
    17 May 2021
    Update on Technology Gap Prioritization »  Details.
    17 May 2021
    25 May 2021: Infrared Science Interest Group (IR SIG) Webinar »  Details.
    17 May 2021
    ROSES Astrophysics Theory Program Information Session on 24 May 2021 »  Details.
    12 May 2021
    Special Online Event, 13 May 2021: Quorum for Ultraviolet Exploration of Science and Technology (QUEST). »  Meeting Details and Invite.

    Project News


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