"The Pillars of Creation." Photo: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

Four groups of competing astronomers and astrophysicists have teamed up to present a grand vision for NASA as the community grapples with what the agency's science program should prioritize.

Driving the news: Billed the "New Great Observatories," the teams behind the Lynx, LUVOIR, HabEx and Origins missions are advocating that NASA commit to building all four of these expensive, large space telescopes.

  • "These are four astonishing visions that really are this unified vision for a new constellation of great observatories," astrophysicist Grant Tremblay told Axios.

The big picture: The lobbying comes as the astronomy and astrophysics communities work to set priorities for NASA's next 10 years of astronomy in its decadal survey.

  • The document's recommendation about which of these flagship missions should be funded holds major weight in the community.

Details: If all four missions are developed and funded, it could allow NASA the opportunity to have all of them up and running together in the next few decades, giving scientists a chance to peer into the universe as never before.

  • LUVOIR and HabEx are both focused on discovering and characterizing potentially Earth-like planets far from our solar system.
  • Lynx is an X-ray observatory designed to illuminate the light of distant stars, learn more about how black holes evolved and understand the structure of the universe.
  • The Origins Space Telescope is expected to help scientists gather data on how galaxies and planets themselves formed, potentially illuminating the origins of life.

Yes, but: It won't be cheap to make this plan happen. According to the collaboration, it would take about $1 billion in extra annual funding to have three of these missions in space by the mid-2040s.

  • The scientific community has also become somewhat wary of big missions after cost overruns and technical issues have plagued the development of the nearly $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope expected to launch next year, so four of these large missions at a time might be a hard sell.

Go deeper: NASA intern discovers new exoplanet

Editor's note: This story was corrected to show the time frame in which these telescopes could launch to orbit is by the mid-2040s (not within 10 years).

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California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
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Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new measures on Monday to mute the microphones of President Trump and Joe Biden to allow each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate.

Why it matters: During September's chaotic debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, while Biden interrupted Trump 22 times.