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SPHEREx, a mission selected by NASA as the next Medium Explorer (MIDEX) in February 2019, with a planned launch in 2024, is an all-sky survey satellite designed to address all three science goals in NASA's Astrophysics Division, with a single instrument, a wide-field spectral imager.We will probe the physics of inflation by measuring non-Gaussianity by studying large-scale structure, surveying a large cosmological volume at low redshifts, complementing high-z surveys optimized to constrain dark energy. The origin of water and biogenic molecules will be investigated in all phases of planetary system formation - from molecular clouds to young stellar systems with protoplanetary disks - by measuring ice absorption spectra. We will chart the origin and history of galaxy formation through a deep survey mapping large-scale spatial power in two deep fields located near the ecliptic poles. Following in the tradition of all-sky missions such as IRAS, COBE and WISE, SPHEREx will be the first all-sky near-infrared spectral survey. SPHEREx will create spectra (0.75 – 5 um at R = 35-130) with high sensitivity using a cooled telescope with a wide field-of-view for large mapping speed. During its two-year mission, SPHEREx will produce four complete all-sky maps that will serve as a rich archive for the astronomy community. With over a billion detected galaxies, hundreds of millions of high-quality stellar and galactic spectra the archive will enable diverse scientific investigations and enable many synergistic analysis with other large scale structure surveys of the next decade.


Photo of James Bock
James Bock
Astrophysics & Space Sciences
Photo of Tzu-Ching Chang
Tzu-Ching Chang
Structure of the Universe
Photo of Brendan Crill
Brendan Crill
Origin of the Universe - Deputy Program Chief Technologist, NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program
Photo of Olivier Dore
Olivier Dore
Origin of the Universe
Photo of Hien Nguyen
Hien Nguyen
Origin of the Universe
Photo of Stephen Unwin
Stephen Unwin
Affiliates - Principal Scientist
Photo of Michael Werner
Michael Werner
Affiliates - Project Scientist - Spitzer Space Telescope