NASA Establishes New Office to Study Cosmic Phenomena

June 26, 2007

NASA has created a new office to study in more detail some of the universe's most exotic phenomena: dark energy, black holes and cosmic microwave background radiation.

The new Einstein Probes Office will facilitate NASA's future medium-class science missions to investigate these profound cosmic mysteries. The office will be housed in the Beyond Einstein Program Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The Beyond Einstein Program consists of five proposed missions: two major observatories and three smaller probes. Technology development already is under way on the proposed observatories. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna would orbit the sun measuring gravitational waves in our galaxy and beyond. Constellation-X would view matter falling into supermassive black holes.

The proposed probes would investigate the nature of dark energy, the physics of the Big Bang and the distribution and types of black holes in the universe. NASA previously has supported initial mission concept studies for the Dark Energy, Inflation, and Black Hole Finder probes. The agency currently is funding three other, more detailed, dark energy mission concept studies.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy have commissioned a National Research Council committee to assess which of the Beyond Einstein missions should be developed and launched first. The assessment will be based on scientific impact, technology readiness and budgetary considerations. The committee's recommendations are due to be released in September 2007.

"We look forward to receiving the recommendations of the committee," said Jon Morse, director of the Astrophysics Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. "Adding this new office to the existing logistical support for the Beyond Einstein Program will help us react swiftly to the committee's assessment."

The Beyond Einstein Program is designed to provide key information to help answer fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the universe. The Beyond Einstein spacecraft will build on such current NASA missions as the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Brian Schmidt discusses the fast-firing universe

Related Stories

Brian Schmidt discusses the fast-firing universe

April 28, 2015

In 1998, a team led by a former Harvard graduate student shocked the astrophysics world by publishing results that said the expansion of the universe, believed to be gradually slowing, was instead accelerating.

Measuring the value of science

April 16, 2015

Reports about the worthy contributions of science to national economies pop up regularly all around the world – from the UK to the US and even the developing world.

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.