NASA Headquarters has selected JPL as the implementing center for the NGST Mid-Infra-Red Instrument (MIRI). This selection comes after a brief, competitive round of oral and written proposals from JPL, GSFC, and ARC to NASA's Astronomy and Physics Division. This NGST instrument development will be a NASA-led partnership with ESA, with each Agency providing half of the required resources. The most exciting aspect of the MIRI is the enormous discovery space afforded by such a long wavelength instrument. NGST/MIRI's combination of high sensitivity, angular resolution, and spectral resolution will enable many new observing programs. The associated projects, such as studying old stellar populations, characterizing active and starburst galaxies, all at redshifts between 5 and 10 using the wavelengths longer than 10 micron, are in direct support of NGST's primary goals of understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies and creation of the first heavy elements.
The JPL instrument development effort will be managed within its Astronomy and Physics Directorate under the direction of Larry Simmons. Avinash Karnik is the Instrument Manager and Gene Serabyn will serve as the MIRI Instrument Scientist. Work on this exciting new instrument, on both sides of the Atlantic, will be kicked off in the month of October, 2001.