14 January, 2006 - 3:50 PM
BLISS on SPICA: charting the history of the far-IR background
C. M. Bradford (JPL), T. Nakagawa, the BLISS team, & the SPICA team
We present the scientific motivation, point designs and plans for a background-limited Infrared-Submillimeter Spectrograph (BLISS) for the Japanese SPICA mission. SPICA will be a 3.5-meter telescope cooled to below 5 K, and offers the potential for far-IR observations limited only by the zodiacal dust emission and other diffuse foregrounds. BLISS on SPICA will provide moderate-resolution (R~1000) spectroscopy from 40-600 microns at this background limit, achieving sensitivities below 10^-20 W m^2 in modest integrations. This huge advance will enable the first routine survey spectroscopy of the redshift 0.5 to 5 galaxies which produce the cosmic far-IR background. The far-IR fine-structure and molecular transitions are immune to dust extinction, and will unambiguously reveal these galaxies' redshifts, stellar and AGN content, gas properties, and metallicities -- in aggregate the history of the population.