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NASA Set to Launch Habitable Worlds Observatory Telescope to Find Inhabited Planet by 2050

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NASA creates alien-hunting telescope, aims to discover inhabited planet by 2050The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to launch the ‘Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO)’ in 2040 to find proof of extraterrestrial life (aliens) and inhabited planets beyond the solar system.

  • HWO is a unique telescope, dubbed “Super Hubble”, capable of detecting a range of ‘biosignatures’ emitted by living organisms and discovering inhabited planets by 2050.


i.HWO is designed to identify potentially habitable planets around other stars by examining their atmospheres to determine if life could exist.

ii.This is being built upon the studies conducted for two earlier mission concepts, the Large Ultraviolet Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) and the Habitable Exoplanets Observatory (HabEx).

About HWO:

i.Main Objective: Directly image at least 25 potentially habitable worlds around other stars. This will use spectroscopy to search for chemical “biosignatures”, including gasses such as oxygen and methane, in the planets’ atmospheres.

ii.This will detect biosignatures like biogenic’ gases, aerosols, and other airborne pollutants; ‘surface biosignatures,’ like the infra-red heat produced by vegetation, and even more artificial ‘technosignatures’ which would be made by a civilized alien race.

iii.The HWO will have a mirror similar to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and ultra-precise optics to examine the atmospheres of exoplanets.

Construction and Collaborations:

i.Military contractors Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace will contribute to constructing HWO’s next-generation hardware and code.

ii.3 NASA contracts, totalling USD 17.5 million, will fund advanced technologies to enhance exoplanet data collection.

2 Gaganyaan Astronauts Shortlisted & 1 to Travel for a Mission to ISS with NASATwo Gaganyaan astronauts shortlistedThe Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has shortlisted 2 of its four trained Gaganyaan astronauts for the Axiom-4 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Only one of the shortlisted astronauts will go on the mission, which is set to be launched by October 2024 at the latest.

  • Axiom-4(Ax-4) is the 4th private astronaut mission of the American space infrastructure developer, Axiom Space, in collaboration with NASA.
  • The Indian astronauts, who are being trained in India focussed on Gaganyaan modules, will have to be familiarised with the ISS modules and protocols.

Note:The 4 Gaganyaan astronauts are Captain Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair Group Captain Ajit Krishnan Group Captain Angad Pratap and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla.

Mission Details:

i.The Ax-4 mission, expected to dock with the ISS for 14 days, will see crew members trained by NASA, international partners, and the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) for their flight.

ii.Axiom Space has contracted SpaceX as a launch provider for transportation to and from the space station for this mission.

About the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
Administrator– Bill Nelson
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., The United States of America (USA)