US targets new generation of great observatories

The past decade has seen awe-inspiring breakthroughs in astronomy and astrophysics. From the first detection of gravitational waves, to the first direct image of a supermassive black hole, and the discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets.

Astronomers are once again looking to the future: last year the US National Academies published its latest decadal survey Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s (ASTRO 2020).

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This video summarizes the key messages from the 614-page report. The dream is for a new generation of world-class missions, to return complementary data – in the same way we saw with Chandra, Hubble, Spitzer and other great observatories of the recent past. There is also a push for nimbler “probe missions” with more focused science goals, and recommendations to foster greater diversity in the astronomy community and better relations with partner communities.

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Find out more about the ASTRO 2020 report in this recent feature article written by science writer Keith Cooper.