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    • 2019-02-14 17:05:09
    • Article ID: 708140

    Argonne researchers probe origins of Universe in NASA Spectral Sky Map Mission

    • Credit: Photo by Shutterstock / Yuriy Mazur

      SPHEREx will advance NASA's science goals by probing the origin and destiny of our Universe, evaluating whether planets around other stars could harbor life, and exploring the origin and evolution of galaxies.

    NASA selects SPHEREx for launch in 2023.

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected SPHEREx as its next Medium-Class Explorer Mission, for launch in 2023. SPHEREx, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer, is an all-sky spectroscopic mapping mission designed to further the science goals of NASA’s Astrophysics Division by probing the origin and destiny of our Universe, evaluating whether planets around other stars could harbor life, and exploring the origin and evolution of galaxies. SPHEREx was selected to be a mission within NASA’s Explorers Program, which provides flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space.

    The SPHEREx team is led by James Bock at Caltech and managed by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team comprises an international collaboration of universities, industry and institutes, including scientists from the Computational Science and High Energy Physics divisions at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

    SPHEREx is a marvelous mission, and we are sure to learn a lot from it. As the first all-sky spectral survey, it will make a major impact in cosmology… Very exciting times ahead!” — Salman Habib, Division Director, Computational Science Division and Interim Deputy Director, High Energy Physics Division

    Significant Argonne contributions will include the development of cosmological simulations for SPHEREx galaxies, identification of SPHEREx sources and the computation of their redshifts, determination of the effect of different types of non-Gaussianity on the large-scale structure of the Universe, detection of cluster of galaxies and determination of their properties, and estimation of the abundance of high-redshift quasars.

    Argonne contributors include

    • Lindsey Bleem, Assistant Physicist, High Energy Physics Division: galaxy clusters
    • Jonas Chaves-Montero, Postdoctoral Appointee, High Energy Physics Division: quasars
    • Salman Habib, Division Director, Computational Science Division and Interim Deputy Director, High Energy Physics Division: galaxy catalog simulations, nongaussianity
    • Katrin Heitmann, Physicist and Computational Scientist, Physical Sciences and Engineering Directorate: galaxy catalog simulations

    In its two-year mapping mission, SPHEREx will perform a near-infrared spectral survey, scanning and mapping spectra at ultra-high sensitivity, including two deep surveys at the North and South poles. These surveys will unmask the large-scale structure of the Universe (galaxy clusters and voids) by measuring the light wave frequencies of nearly 500 million galaxies with a precision of 10 percent and the light wave frequencies of another 16 million galaxies with 0.3 percent precision.

    The mission offers benefits beyond probing the origin of our Universe: it will amass a rich legacy archive for the astronomy community, with hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies to identify targets for more detailed studies, and it will set the stage for future missions.

    According to Argonne’s Salman Habib, ​As the first all-sky spectral survey, SPHEREx will make a major impact in cosmology — not only in what it will discover, but in making the data from other instruments, such as Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), more meaningful. In addition, there is an excellent connection with exascale computing and making predictions for SPHEREx. Very exciting times ahead!”

    Habib’s colleagues share his enthusiasm. Bleem and Chaves-Montero are excited about the selection of SPHEREx and eager for the work to begin. Bleem expects that ​the rich dataset from this mission will allow us to answer a wide range of questions concerning the origins and evolution of our Universe. SPHEREx will also have great synergy with upcoming DOE surveys including Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and LSST.” Chaves-Montero predicts that the project ​will allow us to understand the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos by detecting the most energetic objects in the Universe: black holes with a few billion times the mass of the Sun.”

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

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    Science Snapshots: messenger proteins, new TB drug, artificial photosynthesis

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    Volker Burkert Named Virginia Outstanding Scientist

    Volker Burkert Named Virginia Outstanding Scientist

    Volker Burkert has been named a Virginia Outstanding Scientist for 2019.

    Brookhaven Lab, Suffolk Girl Scouts Launch Patch Program

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    DOE announces funding for Argonne projects on better materials and chemistry through data science

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    Fermilab achieves world-record field strength for accelerator magnet

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    Scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermilab have announced that they achieved the highest magnetic field strength ever recorded for an accelerator steering magnet, setting a world record of 14.1 teslas, with the magnet cooled to 4.5 kelvins or minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Mainz University, Fermilab agree to joint appointment in support of Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

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    New national facility will explore low-temperature plasma, a dynamic source of innovation for modern technologies

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     Innovators in Argonne's entrepreneurship program amass millions in investments to aid their energy startups

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    New funding awarded to two early career scientists

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    DOE Announces $60.7 Million to Advance Quantum Computing and Networking

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    Microbial Evolution: Nature Leads, Nurture Supports

    Microbial Evolution: Nature Leads, Nurture Supports

    Based on an extensive study across environments, from mixed conifer forest to high-desert grassland, the team suggests that microbes aren't so different from larger, more complex forms of life. That is, in determining species traits, nature takes the lead, while nurture plays a supporting role.

    Building a Scale to Weigh Superheavy Elements

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    Getting Metal Under Graphite's Skin

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    Some metals need to be protected from the atmosphere. Exposure leads to damage that ruins their unique properties. Controllably forming metal islands just under the surface of graphite protects the metals. This allows these metals to take on new roles in ultrafast quantum computers. It also means new roles in magnetic, catalytic, or plasmonic materials.

    Atomically Packed Boundaries Resist Cracking

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    Scientists devised specialized X-ray mapping techniques. They determined that boundaries associated with regions where atoms are closely packed together most readily resist cracking. This analysis revealed that when a crack encounters such a boundary, it's deflected to a less direct path and crack growth is slowed.

    End-run Spreads Lithium Throughout Battery Electrodes

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    Scientists used chemically sensitive X-ray microscopy to map lithium transport during battery operation.

    Knowledgebase Is Power for Nuclear Reactor Developers

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    Six new nuclear reactor technologies are planned to commercially deploy between 2030 and 2040. ORNL's Weiju Ren heads a project managing structural materials information. This conversation explores challenges and opportunities in sharing nuclear materials knowledge internationally.

    Excited Atoms Rush Independently to New Positions

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    How atoms react to a sudden burst of light shows scientists how the larger material might act in sensors, data storage devices, and more.


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