ATLAS Probe: Exploring Frontiers in Galaxy Evolution, Cosmology, and Milky Way Science

Yun Wang, Massimo Robberto, Mark Dickinson, Henry C. Ferguson, Lynne Hillenbrand, Christopher M. Hirata, Andrea Cimatti, James Bartlett, Robert Barkhouser, Robert A. Benjamin, Jarle Brinchmann, Ranga-Ram Chary, Charlie Conroy, Emanuele Daddi, Megan Donahue, Olivier Dore, Peter Eisenhardt, Wesley C. Fraser, George Helou, J. Davy KirkpatrickSangeeta Malhotra, Lauro Moscardini, Zoran Ninkov, Michael Ressler, James Rhoads, Jason Rhodes, Alice Shapley, Stephen Smee, ATLAS Probe Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ATLAS (Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy) Probe is a concept for a NASA probe-class space mission that leverages WFIRST imaging for targeted spectroscopy. ATLAS Probe will obtain spectra of 90% of all galaxies imaged by the WFIRST High Latitude Survey at z > 0.5, with slit spectra of 300 million galaxies to z = 7. ATLAS Probe and WFIRST together will produce a 3D map of the Universe with Mpc resolution over 2200 sq deg, the definitive data sets for studying galaxy evolution, probing dark matter, dark energy and modification of general relativity, and quantifying the 3D structure and stellar content of the Milky Way.ATLAS Probe science spans four broad categories: (1) Revolutionize galaxy evolution studies by tracing the relation between galaxies and dark matter from the local group to cosmic voids and filaments, from the epoch of reionization through the peak era of galaxy assembly. (2) Open a new window into the Universe by mapping the dark matter filaments using 3D weak lensing with spectroscopic redshifts to unveil the nature of the dark Universe, and obtaining definitive measurements of dark energy and possible modification of general relativity using cosmic large-scale structure. (3) Probe the Milky Way's dust-shrouded regions, reaching the far side of our Galaxy. (4) Characterize asteroids and comets in the outer Solar System.ATLAS Probe is a 1.5m telescope with a field of view (FoV) of 0.4 sq deg, and uses Digital Micromirror Devices (DMDs) as slit selectors. It has a spectroscopic resolution of R = 600, and a wavelength range of 1-4μm. The lack of slit spectroscopy from space over a wide FoV is the obvious gap in current and planned future space missions; ATLAS fills this big gap with an unprecedented spectroscopic capability (with an estimated spectroscopic multiplex factor of 5000-10000). It has an estimated cost under $1B, with a single instrument, a telescope aperture that allows for a lighter launch vehicle, and mature technology (DMDs can reach Technology Readiness Level 6 within two years). ATLAS Probe will lead to transformative science over the entire range of astrophysics: from galaxy evolution to the dark Universe, from Solar System objects to the dusty regions of the Galaxy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #231
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018


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