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Proposed Facility

You have predicted what the very early universe will look like. Unfortunately, some of the details are somewhat obscure, and so some observational data would be handy. Alas, the observers are lagging somewhat, busily engaged in a feeding frenzy at boringly low redshifts such as 3.

Over morning tea, some of your more observationally inclined colleagues suggested a way out of this bind: a new space telescope specifically designed to look for very high redshift galaxies, the real `first light in the universe'. The telescope will clearly have to work in the infra-red, but some people at NASA have come up with a clever design whereby a space telescope, equipped with a suitable sun-shield, can be passively cooled down to very low temperatures. The telescope will also have to be pretty large to see such faint objects, but it seems to be possible to use light-weight fold-out mirrors to put a six metre infra-red telescope in space. The designers of this telescope call it the Next Generation Space telescope, or NGST.

You are here at this meeting to persuade your colleagues that it would be really jolly interesting to try and look beyond redshift 5, and that the NGST is the way to do this. Observers often suffer from tunnel vision and devote far to much time to adding details to already well studied problems, rather than going after the really interesting new territory. Your job is to gently persuade them of this!

Paul Francis
Sun Aug 30 11:56:56 EST 1998