Ask astronomers what query they most wish to reply, and you’re going to get scattered responses: How did the primary stars, galaxies and black holes type? What’s the nature of dark matter and dark energy? Are we alone?

Every query calls for its personal massive telescope: no final, one-size-fits-all instrument will ever exist, for none may be made to collect each form of cosmic gentle. Black holes typically shine in X-rays, as an example, whereas Earth-like exoplanets are greatest studied in optical and infrared gentle. But such tasks so pressure the fraction of private and non-private funds allotted to astronomy that only some — maybe only one — may be prioritized at a time, resulting in pileups of also-ran proposals and anxious researchers awaiting a uncommon likelihood to open new home windows on the universe.