NASA Wants To Know What You'd Do With a Hubble-Class Spy Telescope

By Will Smith

The National Reconnaissance Office gave NASA the important telescopic bits for a pair of spy satellites. What will NASA use them for?

Last June, the National Reconnaissance Office gifted a pair of space telescopes it no longer needed to NASA. Described as Hubble-class, these telescopes were originally designed to surveil the planet rather than the stars. NASA can use the scopes as the guts of a pair of new space telescopes--space telescopes that will cost significantly less than they would if the agency was starting from scratch. Hell of a gift, right?

Image Credit: NASA

As is usually the case, there's some fine print. The NRO's stipulations are straightforward--basically the scopes can't be sent overseas and they can't be aimed at the Earth. They'll also need to be retrofitted for whatever mission NASA decides to send them on--something that won't happen until after NASA has paid its tab for the James Webb Space Telescope. Because of the wide field of view on these telescopes' optics, a leading candidate is the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, or WFIRST. The WFIRST is designed to study two hot topics in astrophysics, exoplanets and dark energy.

However, NASA is soliciting ideas from the community for innovative uses of these two telescopes. What would you use a pair of badass space telescopes for? (via DiscoveryNews)