HWO Workshop announcement update

Dear Colleagues

Here is an update on planning for the Nov 8th HWO workshop.

We have accumulated about 40 registrations for the HWO workshop, which is great with a month left to go.

That means we have about 50 spaces left. If you haven’t yet registered and but plan to attend, please do so. Please also continue to share with others to maximise and diversify our attendance.

During the next couple of weeks, I would like to put a programme together and remain interested in volunteers for talks on both science and instrument topics.

A copy of the original announcement and Eventbrite link for registration is below.

Best wishes


The Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO) has been selected by NASA as its next flagship space astronomy mission, following on from Hubble, Webb and Rubin telescopes. A principal scientific goal of HWO is to search for Earth-like planets in nearby interstellar space (within a few 10s of parsecs) and characterise their surfaces and/or atmospheres through direct spectroscopic observations in the search for evidence of life processes. HWO will also be a general-purpose observatory able to provide revolutionary capability in many areas of astrophysics and planetary science. As with Hubble and Webb before, the timescale for development, build and launch of HWO is measured in decades, with an expected launch in the early 2040s (although it is hoped to accelerate work to bring this forward). HWO is currently planned to be a 6-m aperture UVOIR telescope. Detailed design of the mission, examination of its science goals and development of instrumentation is beginning now, with key meetings already organised this year.

For the next few years, the emphasis on HWO development is refining the science programme and understanding the demands it makes on the instrumentation. In parallel, the first post-LUVOIR/HabEx studies on instrumentation will begin. In the expectation of significant UK science and hardware interests in HWO, it is important to begin an exploration of these and develop the UK community involvement in the mission. We have a small grant from STFC to facilitate this by holding a series of UK community workshops. The first of these will be held at Space Park Leicester (https://www.space-park.co.uk) on Wednesday 8th November.

Registration is by this eventbrite link.


We hope that most people will join in person, but plan to make the event available as a hybrid meeting. We have a large capacity (up to 90) in the SPL conference facilities. In the unlikely event that we exceed the limit, we might ask institutions to consolidate their in-person attendance to ensure as many research groups as possible are represented.
We will be working on the detailed programme in the coming weeks. In general, we will cover background to HWO, and UK activities-to-date, but mostly we want to develop a discussion across the community. We will welcome short contributions on either science, instrument or industry interests. Please email me directly (mab@le.ac.uk) if you would like to provide one of these. However, please note that we will have a limited number of slots and would encourage coordination of institutional input to avoid too many requests.
Disabled parking is available at Space Park Leicester by advance reservation, please contact: reception@space-park.co.uk. Parking is available for everyone else at the nearby National Space Centre (pay and display).

A range of meat, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free lunch options will be provided. Anyone with additional special dietary needs (e.g. nut and other allergies) should contact me directly (deadline 31/10).

Please feel free to circulate to your contacts.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Space Park Leicester on November 8th.

Martin Barstow
Space Park Leicester – Director, Strategic Partnerships
Professor of Astrophysics & Space Science
School of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
Space Park Leicester, 92 Corporation Road, Leicester, LE4 5SP, UK
t: +44 (0)116 252 3492 (PA – Sue Howell, 3497)
e: mab@leicester.ac.uk
mobile: +44 (0)776 62 333 62
home: +44 (0)116 2862330
Skype for Business: mab@leicester.ac.uk
Skype (personal): martin.barstow2
SPL website: https://www.space-park.co.uk

Chair, Midlands Innovation Space Group