Space Flight Center
WFIRST - Wide-Field Infra-Red Survey Telescope

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA observatory designed to perform wide-field imaging and slitless spectroscopic surveys of the near infrared (NIR) sky for the community. The current Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) design of the mission makes use of an existing 2.4m telescope to enhance sensitivity and imaging performance. WFIRST-AFTA will settle essential questions in both exoplanet and dark energy research and will advance topics ranging from galaxy evolution to the study of objects within the Galaxy and within the Solar System. It is the top-ranked large space mission in the New Worlds, New Horizon (NWNH) Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The main instrument is a wide-field multi-filter NIR imager and spectrometer. With the 2.4m telescope, a coronagraph instrument has been added to the payload for direct imaging of exoplanets and debris disks.

WFIRST Science Programs

» Dark Energy
Large area near infrared spectroscopic and imaging surveys at high Galactic latitudes and a Type Ia supernova survey at the ecliptic poles to determine the expansion history of the Universe and the growth history of its largest structures
Dark energy is speeding up the expansion of the Universe, but its nature is a mystery.
» Exoplanets - Microlensing
Photometric survey of the Galactic bulge to complete the statistical census of planets in our Galaxy
» Exoplanets - Direct Imaging
High contrast imaging and spectroscopic survey of the nearest stars to directly image giant planets and debris disks
Sensitivity of the WFIRST-2.4 coronagraph for imaging planets around nearby stars.
» NIR Sky Survey/Guest Investigator Program
Archival research program using data from the baseline near infrared sky surveys
Infrared maps unlock the secrets of star- and planet-formation.
» Guest Observer Program
Competitive, peer-reviewed additional science
The power of the wide field view of AFTA/WFIRST is illustrated on this 2MASS near-IR image of the Andromeda Galaxy M31.

Latest News

Aug 7, 2015

The WFIRST study office is managing two technology maturation efforts, for the near infrared (NIR) detectors on the wide field instrument (WFI) and several technologies, including deformable mirrors (DMs), coronagraph masks, and high contrast imaging for the Coronagraph Instrument (CGI). NASA HQ has agreed with the study office on a set of technology milestones for each of these maturation efforts. To date, several milestones have been passed on time and the reports are available here; as additional milestones are met they will be added.

Jul 29, 2015

WFIRST NASA Research Announcement

WFIRST Science Investigation Teams and Adjutant Scientists (Solicitation: NNH15ZDA001N-WFIRST)

» Details

Jul 9, 2015

Industry Request for Information

NASA invites industry to share development ideas for WFIRST. A NASA study team working to create a space based observatory called WFIRST has issued a Request For Information, inviting companies to outline their concepts for mission elements and subsystems. Responses should be sent by 5 p.m. EDT on July 28, 2015.

» View the Request for Information

» Older News

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Neil Gehrels
Project Scientist