Here we propose the "Reflight of the Stratospheric TeraHertz Observatory: STO-2". STO-2 will address a key problem in modern astrophysics, understanding the Life Cycle of the Interstellar Medium (ISM). STO-2 will survey approximately of the Southern Galactic plane in the dominant interstellar cooling line [CII] (158 m) and the important star formation tracer [NII] (205 m). With ~1 arcminute angular resolution, STO-2 will spatially resolve atomic, ionic and molecular clouds out to 10 kpc. Taking advantage of its enhanced, extended lifetime cryogenic receivers, the STO-2 survey will be conducted at unparalleled sensitivity levels. STO-2 will uniquely probe the pivotal formative and disruptive stages in the life cycle of interstellar clouds and the relationship between global star formation rates and the properties of the ISM. Combined with previous HI and CO surveys, STO-2 will create 3-dimensional maps of the structure, dynamics, turbulence, energy balance, and pressure of the Milky Way's ISM, as well as the star formation rate. Once we gain an understanding of the relationship between ISM properties and star formation in the Milky Way, we can better interpret observations of nearby galaxies and the distant universe. The mission goals for these surveys are to: Determine the life cycle of Galactic interstellar gas. Study the creation and disruption of star-forming clouds in the Galaxy. Determine the parameters that affect the star formation rate in the galaxy. Provide templates for star formation and stellar/interstellar feedback in other galaxies. STO-2 will re-use the 80cm telescope, gondola, and subsystems from STO-1. For the STO-2 flight, STO- 1s high spectral resolution (
|Effective start/end date||1/16/14 → 1/15/17|
- NASA: Goddard Space Flight Center: $323,189.00
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