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51 Pegasi b Fellow’s Project Selected for Funding by NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

GO-LoW is a Great Observatory concept to open the last unexplored window of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. The Earth’s ionosphere becomes opaque at approximately 10m wavelengths, so GO-LoW will join Great Observatories like HST and JWST in space to access this spectral window. (Source image courtesy NASA.)

Dr. Melodie Kao, a 51 Pegasi b Fellow at University of California, Santa Cruz, has been selected for funding by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program as part of the Great Observatory for Long Wavelengths (GO-LoW) concept team, led by Dr. Mary Knapp of MIT Haystack Observatory.

The NIAC program fosters innovation by funding early-stage studies to evaluate technologies that could support future space missions. The GO-LoW concept team, which received a $175,000 grant over nine months, hopes to reveal the low-frequency radio sky, which is invisible to ground-based telescopes, to gather detailed data from exoplanets and other sources in space. GO-LoW will utilize a fleet of thousands of satellites, smaller than shoeboxes, working as one to mimic one large virtual telescope.

In an interview with MIT, Dr. Kao explained: “[H]umans have never before seen the low-frequency radio sky, and neither have we built a Great Observatory that can change shape to suit the science at hand—or even repair mechanical failures without astronaut intervention. GO-LoW could be the pathway to totally new and unexpected discoveries as well as creating sustainable science infrastructure in space.”

Learn more about the GO-LoW concept in MIT’s press release. NASA’s official press release is available here.