SPHEREx is a NASA Astrophysics mission. It was selected as a Medium Explorer mission in February 2019. As a space observatory, SPHEREx will use a technique called spectroscopy to measure hundreds of millions of galaxies and a rich diversity of astronomical phenomena. With this capability, SPHEREx will produce a three dimensional map of the universe unlike any other. Scientists will use this map to answer big questions about the early universe, the history of galaxies, and the prevalence of life-sustaining molecules in planet-forming regions of space.
Relying on a simple instrument design with a single observing mode, SPHEREx will map the entire sky four times during its nominal 25-month mission. SPHEREx will survey the sky in optical as well as near-infrared light which, though not visible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions. SPHEREx will obtain near-infrared 0.75-5.0 µm spectra every 6" over the entire sky. SPHEREx will have strong scientific synergies with other mission and observatories, resulting in a rich legacy archive of spectra that will bear on numerous scientific investigations.
SPHEREx is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, California, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. The mission’s Principal Investigator is based at Caltech, which will also develop the payload in collaboration with JPL. Ball Aerospace will supply the spacecraft. The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) is an instrument and science partner for the mission. Data will be processed and archived at IPAC at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA. In addition to scientists from Caltech, JPL, and KASI, the scientific analysis will include scientists from numerous institutions.