Members of the NASA Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) mission recently gathered at Jet Propulsion Laboratory to celebrate the 10-year anniversary on the launch of their spacecraft to study star formation in the ultraviolet wavelength.
Launched in April 2003, the mission found hundreds of millions of galaxies in the UV, observed new stars exploding a few giga years after the Big Bang and surveyed the sky 10,000 times deeper than previous sky surveys. Chris Martin, principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology, created the idea for the project and followed it through to completion this August.
The mission was managed by the JPL, which also built the instrument. JPL employees Jim Fanson and Kerry Erickson managed the project during development and operations respectively.
Scientists believe the universe began in a single energetic explosion of space and time. The sky is filled with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars. The immensity and richness of the universe is incredible as GALEX watched stars form and disappear into black holes.
NASA loaned the spacecraft to Caltech in 2012 to allow private funding to be used to continue operation. The project ended its historic journey in June 2013. GALEX obtained a legacy of data that will be studied by scientists for decades to come.
Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
Submitted by Danette ERICKSON