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Single Aperture Large Telescope for Universe Studies (SALTUS)

Presentation #314.03 in the session The Future of FIR Astronomy.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Single Aperture Large Telescope for Universe Studies (SALTUS)

SALTUS (Single Aperture Large Telescope for Universe Studies) is a Probe mission concept that employs a radiatively cooled, 20 meter inflatable aperture and cryogenic detectors to better understand our cosmic origins and the possibility of life elsewhere. The science objectives of SALTUS are to:

1) Trace astrochemical signatures of planet formation, habitable zones, and life. 2) Trace galaxy evolution and heavy element production over cosmic time. 3) Perform a census and probe the structure of supermassive black holes.

To achieve these objectives SALTUS will perform spectroscopic studies towards 100’s of exoplanets, protoplanetary disks, galaxies, and solar system objects over a wavelength range from ~30 to 300 microns at high and moderate spectral resolution. The focal plane will include both coherent and incoherent detectors cooled by a closed-cycle refrigeration system. The telescope will employ a sunshield and be radiatively cooled to ~45K. SALTUS will have ~10x the collecting area of JWST and ~30x that of Herschel. The 20 meter aperture of SALTUS will be used as a space node for millimeter-wave VLBI observations of massive black holes in the Milky Way and beyond. The mission is designed to provide a lifetime of > 5 years. More than 50% of its on-orbit time will be dedicated to the SALTUS Guest Observer (GO) Program. With its large aperture and suite of instruments, SALTUS will provide a quantum leap in our understanding of the universe.

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