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NASA, SpaceX To Team Up For Mission Exploring Origins Of The Universe

HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — NASA announced an agreement Thursday with Hawthorne-based SpaceX for the launch of a scientific research mission to provide answers about the origins of the universe.

The mission, called Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer, or SPHEREx, is targeted for launch in June 2024.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will manage the mission that will be launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California.

According to NASA, the two-year mission will scan the sky in "near-infrared light, which, though not visible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions involving the birth of the universe and the subsequent development of galaxies."

It will also search for potentially life-supporting water and organic molecules in "stellar nurseries" and gather information on more than 300 million galaxies and over 100 million stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

NASA estimates the launch of the mission will cost $98.8 million.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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