The SWAS Mission
The Corona Australus Molecular Cloud
(c) Anglo-Australian Observatory, Photo by David Malin
SWAS is one of NASA's Small Explorer Program (SMEX) missions. The
overall goal of the mission is to gain a greater understanding of
star formation by determining the composition of interstellar clouds and
establishing the means by which these clouds cool as they collapse to
form stars and planets.
SWAS will focus on the following spectral lines:
- (1) Water (H2O) at 556.936 GHz
- (2) Molecular oxygen (O2) at 487.249 GHz
- (3) Neutral carbon (CI) at 492.161 GHz
- (4) Isotopic carbon monoxide (13CO) at 550.927 GHz
- (5) Isotopic water (H218O) at 548.676 GHz
The spacecraft will make detailed 1 degree x 1 degree maps of at least twenty
giant molecular and dark cloud cores during the first 2 years of the mission.