Origins Space Telescope (Origins): HEterodyne Receiver for Origins (HERO) - Observatoire de Paris Access content directly
Other Publications Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society Year : 2020

Origins Space Telescope (Origins): HEterodyne Receiver for Origins (HERO)


The Heterodyne Receiver for Origins (HERO) is a European-lead study for an upscope option for the Origins Space Telescope mission concept study. This heterodyne receiver complements the existing three baseline instruments by providing sufficiently high spectral resolution to obtain velocity-resolved line profiles of even narrow lines (< 1 km/s) over a large frequency range, thus enabling studies using line tomography. With its upscoped heterodyne receiver, Origins will play a critical role in tracing the path of water from the ISM into protoplanetary disks through its unique access to the lowest-energy rotational transitions of the water molecule and its isotopologues (H218O, H217O, HDO) at high spectral resolving power. Origins will thus complement JWST's access to high-lying water transitions and relatively low spectral resolving power. With the combination of high sensitivity provided by its large, 5.9-m telescope and HERO's extremely high spectral resolution capabilities, Origins will be a transformational tool for following the path of water in the ISM. HERO's heterodyne approach easily achieves a spectral resolution, Δλ/λ, of 10-7, or Δv = 0.03 km/s using the most sensitive mixers available and will operate in dual polarization mode. It will have a broad frequency coverage of 486 GHz to 2.7 THz (617 to 111 microns), enabling coverage of many water lines and the dominant cooling lines. In addition, HERO allows dual frequency observations. The receiver consists of small arrays (3x3 pixels) to allow for spectral line mapping and will be the first heterodyne array receiver on a satellite. The design makes full use of prior successful heterodyne receivers and is low risk. HERO is relatively modest in size and fits easily into the Origins payload as a 4th instrument. We thank CNES, NASA Headquarters, GSFC, Caltech/JPL, Ames, IPAC , STScI and industry partners Ball Aerospace, Northrop-Grumman, Harris, and Lockheed-Martin for their generous support of the Origins study. To learn more about Origins see our websites ( and and report (
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obspm-03996720 , version 1 (20-02-2023)



D. Padgett, M. Wiedner, M. Gerin, A. Laurens. Origins Space Telescope (Origins): HEterodyne Receiver for Origins (HERO). 2020. ⟨obspm-03996720⟩
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