Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope
|Launch date||2024, assuming 2017 start|
|Mission length||6 years for baseline science|
|Mass||6,481 kg (14,288 lb) (current best estimate, without margin)|
|Type of orbit||Geosynchronous orbit|
|Orbit height||42,164 km (26,199 mi)|
|Orbit period||1 sidereal day|
|Location||28.5 degree inclined
|Telescope style||Three-mirror anastigmat|
|Wavelength||visible and near-infrared|
|Diameter||2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)|
The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a proposed infrared space observatory which was selected by National Research Council committee as the top priority for the next decade of astronomy.
The design of WFIRST is based on one of the proposed designs for the Joint Dark Energy Mission between NASA and DOE. WFIRST adds some extra capabilities to the original JDEM proposal, including a search for extra-solar planets using gravitational microlensing. WFIRST will also attempt to detect the nature of dark energy.
The original design of WFIRST (Design Reference Mission 1), studied in 2011-2012, featured a 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) diameter unobstructed three-mirror anastigmat telescope.  It contained a single instrument, a visible to near-infrared imager/slitless prism spectrometer. In 2012, another possibility emerged: NASA could use a second-hand National Reconnaissance Office telescope to accomplish a mission like the one planned for WFIRST. NRO offered to donate two telescopes, the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope with a wider field of view. This mission concept, called WFIRST-AFTA (Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets), is being matured by a scientific and technical team; this mission is now the only present NASA plan for the use of the NRO telescopes. The mission will remain in this 'pre-formulation' phase until at least early 2016. The WFIRST-AFTA baseline design now includes a coronagraph to enable the direct imaging of exoplanets.
As of March 4, 2014, the President's FY15 budget request includes a line item for WFIRST/AFTA development, including a budget ramp-up consistent with the mid-2020s launch date.
- Search for dark energy
- Exoplanet statistics
- Guest investigator mode enabling survey investigations of nearby galaxies to answer key questions about their formation and structure
- Technology demonstration of a coronagraph for exoplanet direct imaging.
- National Research Council (2010). New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Washington, D.C.: National Research Council. ISBN 0-309-15802-8. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
- WFIRST Wide-Field Infrared Telescope Home Page, http://wfirst.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/
- WFIRST Science Definition Team Final Report, 2012-08-15, retrieved 2013-09-10
- "Ex-Spy Telescope May Become a Space Investigator - NYTimes.com". 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- WFIRST-AFTA SDT Final Report, revision 1, 2013-05-23, retrieved 2013-09-10
- Dan Leone (2013-06-04). "Only NASA Astrophysics Remains in Running for Donated NRO Telescope — For Now; SpaceNews article". Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Paul Hertz (2013-06-04), NASA Astrophysics presentation to American Astronomical Society, retrieved 2013-09-10
- Beth Robinson (2014-03-04). "Presentation by NASA CFO Beth Robinson". Retrieved 2014-03-04.
- WFIRST-AFTA page at Goddard Space Flight Center site
- WFIRST Science Data Center page at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
- $1.6 Billion Telescope Would Search Alien Planets and Probe Dark Energy — Space.com
- The WFIRST/AFTA astrophysics mission: bigger and better for exoplanets, Tom Greene