Technology Highlights

Photo of large mirror being assembled in a NASA facility.
May 18, 2021
“Are we alone in the universe?” may be one of the most compelling questions of our generation.  Direct imaging of planetary systems around other stars to detect and characterize Earth-like planets that could sustain life requires telescopes that are larger and more stable than any previous... Read More
Mar 23, 2021
A NASA-sponsored team at the MIT Space Nanotechnology Lab is developing high-performance space instrumentation for more powerful future X-ray telescopes that will study the dynamics of the high-energy universe.
Photo of mirror and hardware
Jan 5, 2021
Space telescopes have historically been expensive to plan, build, and launch. Leveraging the development of small spacecraft, CubeSats, enable capable and reliable platforms with well-focused goals, rapid development times, and affordable costs.
Two men and one woman in blue lab jackets work on HaloSat hardware on a table.
Dec 8, 2020
The far-IR is a powerful but relatively unexplored spectral band that can enable study of the birth and infancy of galaxies. 
Collage of photos of 5 scientists and researchers.
Aug 18, 2020
The ultraviolet spectral range is rich with information about the atmospheres of exosolar planets, star formation, supernovae, the circumgalactic medium, and much more. Two future flagship mission concepts, Habitable Exoplanet characterization (HabEx) and Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared survey... Read More
Photo of a male and female scientist is a lab full of equipment
Jun 30, 2020
A team at GSFC is investigating techniques for creating highly reflective aluminum mirrors sensitive to the far-ultraviolet in addition to the infrared, optical, and visible wavelengths.
Photo of engineers in GSFC coating lab
May 12, 2020
NASA conducted a detailed study to understand when it is worth assembling telescopes in space rather than folding them into a single rocket and deploying them in space.
Rendition of iSAT telescope concept
Mar 18, 2020
To cool proposed future science instruments to operating temperatures well below one Kelvin, NASA is developing an advanced spaceflight magnetic refrigeration system.
Photo of CADR Team
Feb 10, 2020
An X-ray camera is being developed with 3168 pixels and ground-breaking capability to resolve different “colors” of X-rays. This technology will allow observations of the dynamics and composition of hot energetic material in galaxy clusters and around black holes. Scientists can use these images to... Read More
photo of x-ray camera equipment
Dec 9, 2019
This blog post originated in the 2018 Science Mission Directorate Science and Technology Report. PROJECT Laser Transmitter for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Mission
Photo of Final product of the Phase 1 master oscillator package
Universe, Exoplanets
Oct 7, 2019
Earth-like planets orbiting other stars can be 10 billion times dimmer than their host star. To detect these planets and to search for spectroscopic signatures of life in their atmospheres, a space telescope must be used, and the light from the host star must be blocked so the planet comes into... Read More
Photo of scientist looking into vacuum chamber
Universe, Exoplanets
Aug 27, 2019
Future-generation large space telescopes under study at NASA will require very large, high-resolution, high-sensitivity, low-noise sensors capable of measuring ultraviolet through visible wavelengths.
Scientists in lab inspecting a sensor plate
Jul 29, 2019
Colloid microthrusters enable two exciting new areas of astronomy and astrophysics research.
Artist concept of LISA Pathfinder spacecraft
Universe, Exoplanets
Feb 4, 2019
This blog post originated in the 2017 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (33 MB PDF).
Artist’s rendition of a starshade blocking starlight from a nearby planetary system
Oct 31, 2018
Relic radiation from the Big Bang—the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)—provides a Rosetta stone for deciphering the content, structure, and evolution of the early universe. Current theoretical understanding suggests that the universe underwent a rapid exponential expansion, called “inflation,” in... Read More
Photo of CLASS telescope