NASA is always looking to the skies for answers to life's big questions, and a recently announced initiative will allow the agency to see further than ever before.
It is currently at work building the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), and when the device is completed, it will have a view that is 100 times larger than the Hubble Telescope.
NASA's aim is to use the WFIRST to learn more about dark energy and dark matter, study the evolution and expansion of the universe, and broaden the search for planets, even potentially habitable ones, outside of our solar system.
In a release from the agency, Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division in Washington, D.C., explained how the different mechanical elements of the WFIRST would work to help create a clearer picture of just what's out there.
“The Wide-Field Instrument will give the telescope the ability to capture a single image with the depth and quality of Hubble, but covering 100 times the area," Hertz said. "The coronagraph will provide revolutionary science, capturing the faint, but direct images of distant gaseous worlds and super-Earths."
The WFIRST will also be powerful enough to locate and measure "the shapes, positions and distances of millions of galaxies," and is on track to launch in the mid-2020s.