NASA Establishes New Office to Study Cosmic Phenomena

Jun 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: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Regards to your old lady'

Mar 03, 2011

The ETH-Bibliothek at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) is to post six new Einstein letters to his university friend Jakob Ehrat and the latter's mother Emma Ehrat-Uhlinger on the web. The ETH-Bibliothek currently ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

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.