The Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) is a concept for an 8-meter to 16-meter UVOIR space observatory for launch in the 2025-2030 era. ATLAST will allow astronomers to answer fundamental questions at the forefront of modern astronphysics, including "Is there life elsewhere in the Galaxy?" We present a range of science drivers that define the main performance requirements for ATLAST (8 to 16 milliarcsec angular resolution, diffraction limited imaging at 0.5 μm wavelength, minimum collecting area of 45 square meters, high sensitivity to light wavelengths from 0.1 μm to 2.4 μm, high stability in wavefront sensing and control). We will also discuss the synergy between ATLAST and other anticipated future facilities (e.g., TMT, EELT, ALMA) and the priorities for technology development that will enable the construction for a cost that is comparable to current generation observatory-class space missions.
Proceedings of Spie