Now, NASA is requesting ideas for how to use these two telescopes, and they want to hear from you! The agency specifies that the concept should investigate at least one of five main science goals: space technology, human exploration and operations, heliophysics, planetary science, or astrophysics. NASA, however, is not interested in a possible infrared wide-field survey, as astronomers have already specified that one of these telescopes might be put to good use with the proposed WFIRST project (the Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope).
If you have an awesome research topic that one of these 2.4-meter scopes could investigate, NASA asks that you submit it by January 7, 2013. The summary must be written in English, be no more than four pages, and use at least 12-point type. The agency also states that this summary must incorporate a “four-quadrant summary chart” and a concept description including all text, tables, and illustrations. You don’t need to worry, though, about determining a budget or a schedule — NASA just wants some good ideas.
The agency will then pick the most promising concepts (top priority goes to those that have the highest value to science, human spaceflight, and space technology, in addition to being innovative) and invite their authors to make formal presentations at a workshop February 5 and 6 to further discuss these ideas.
So, if you have a proposal for what type of research NASA should do with these 2.4-meter wide-field space telescopes, consider submitting it. For more information, visit the agency’s Applications of Large Space Optics Web page. (Oh, and if you also are curious what a “four-quadrant summary chart” is, NASA has a description on its “Submit an Abstract” page). Good luck, and let us know your ideas!