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NASA Names Selection for New $145M Astrophysics Mission

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NASA has selected John Tomsick of the University of California, Berkeley, to lead a $145 million space telescope mission that will study star birth and death, as well as chemical formations in the Milky Way.

The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) is a gamma-ray telescope that will launch in 2025 through NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program, the space agency said Tuesday.

COSI will examine the gamma rays of radioactive atoms made from large star explosions. The mission seeks to locate where in the Milky Way chemical elements formed.

NASA also wants the mission to uncover the origin of positrons, subatomic particles whose mass is equal to that of electrons but have a positive charge.

The agency selected COSI out of the Astrophysics Explorers Program’s four finalists, which performed mission concept studies before the final selection. The program, which supports scientific investigations, gathered a total of 18 proposals in 2019.

NASA’s Maryland-based Goddard Space Flight Center performs managerial duties for the program.

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