NASA Contributions to the Herschel Space Observatory
Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with significant participation from NASA. NASA played a key role in the development of two of the mission's three instruments (SPIRE and HIFI), and will make important contributions to data and science analyses.
Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE)
SPIRE uses "spider web bolometers", which are 40 times more sensitive than previous composite bolometers. They were developed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientist Dr. James Bock, SPIRE's Co-Investigator. In recognition of his innovation, Dr. Bock received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in March, 2002, the highest honor the U.S. government bestows on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.
Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI)
HIFI senses radiation along six wavelength bands. NASA is providing the mixers and local oscillator chains for the two highest bands, local oscillator components for four other bands, and power amplifiers.
NASA's Herschel Science Center
The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena, has contributed science planning and data analysis software. The United States astronomical community, with the support of the NASA Herschel Science Center, competes for time on Herschel and thus contributes greatly to the mission's science.