About the Mission
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), was the top large space priority in the report of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics." NASA will implement the Roman Space Telescope program on a 2.4-meter AFTA (Astrophysics-Focused Telescope Assets) telescope, donated to NASA by another agency.
The design reference mission in the final report of the WFIRST-AFTA Science Definition Team describes an ambitious science program. This includes a multi-pronged approach to measuring dark energy, the discovery and census of planets down to sub-Earth masses via their microlensing signatures, and the imaging and spectroscopy of planets via coronagraphy. Moreover, the Roman instruments will enable many exciting studies in general astrophysics, through the combination of Guest Observer programs and Guest Investigator studies of archival Roman data, including the wide-area and time-resolved Roman surveys.
Synergies and Partners
Synergy with HST, JWST, and Observatories in the 2020s
Roman will produce large-scale maps of the night sky at the resolution and sensitivity of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), but with a field of view 100 times larger. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will have higher resolution, and sensitivity 100 times as powerful as Hubble, but will have about the same sized field of view as Hubble. With its large field of view and high resolution, Roman surveys will discover rare astronomical objects that can be followed up by JWST and other powerful telescopes being built in the 2020s. Roman’s Hubble-like resolution and sensitivity will allow astronomers to test and calibrate the photometric precision, astrometry, classification systems, and the effect of source blending for large ground-based surveys performed in the 2020s, such as the Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Roman will add valuable near-infrared colors to the LSST’s visible imaging catalogs, improving measurements of the photometric redshift of galaxies and the properties of their stellar populations.
The Roman mission involves work by various institutions. The Roman Space Telescope Project Office is at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), which also oversees the work on the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), the Spacecraft Bus, and System Integration. The NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) oversees the work on the coronagraphic instrument. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the Science Operations Center for Roman, and shares science support responsibilities with IPAC, foreign partners, and GSFC. STScI leads the work on the mission's observation scheduling system, wide field instrument data processing system for the direct-imaging mode, and the mission's entire data archive. A Formulation Science Working Group (FSWG), as well as current and previous science teams, help prepare the mission science.