Mashaal Masha
NASA's Aspera mission, led by Carlos Vargas, will investigate the circumgalactic medium (CGM), the huge swaths of low-density gas that fill and surround galaxies. Specifically, the team will focus on portions of the gas that exist in a "warm-hot" phase: these portions haven't previously been observable but are thought to fuel new star formation and hold most of the mass that makes up a galaxy. Using a telescope capable of revealing these parts of the CGM, the Aspera mission should help answer long-standing questions about how galaxies emerge, change, and even interact.

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As the leader of NASA's Aspera mission, Vargas will be the first person to investigate the makeup of the CGM.


Although galaxies that are surrounded by the CGM have been studied, researchers have been unable to directly observe low-density gas in the CGM in the "warm-hot" phase.


Researchers don't yet have a complete understanding of the process of galaxy evolution but have raised the possibility that galaxies interact with each other at times.


The Aspera mission is expected to produce the first direct observations of CGM gas in the "warm-hot" phase, which likely has an important role in the evolution of galaxies.

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