SAFARI is a possible Dutch instrument onboard the next-generation infrared space telescope SPICA from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Due for launch in 2017 SPICA has a mirror upwards of 3.5 meters, is cooled to almost absolute zero and will use top of the line new technology to view parts of the universe we’ve never seen before. SPICA also has the advantage of operational flexibility to tailor the spectral resolution, and thereby what types of sources are in view, to scientists needs. SPICA could be the first space telescope with a mirror cooled and maintained to near zero temperatures, a great advantage due to the smaller chance that warmth radiating from the mirror will blind SAFARI’s ultra-sensitive detectors. Because of such sight improvement, SPICA will be able to look deeper into the universe’s depths than any of its predecessors.
The Netherlands and SPICA
SRON will develop the ultra-sensitive infrared sensors at SAFARI’s core. TNO is also partnering with SRON to develop new antenna-detector solutions for the sub-mm wave frequency range.