U-M physics researchers chosen to study space mission

Aug 24, 2006
Supernova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP)
Supernova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP)

Researchers from the University of Michigan Physics Department are part of an international team that has been chosen by NASA to study a proposed Joint Dark Energy Mission.

The U-M physicists' role in the research is to develop the infrared light detectors that will be mounted on a satellite to be launched into space to study dark energy.

U-M has been involved with the team, called SNAP (SuperNova/Acceleration Probe), which is funded by the Department of Energy for about five years, said Gregory Tarlé, a professor of physics who is leading the Michigan group. It is the hope that this SNAP program will ultimately be chosen as the team to study the dark energy when the satellite is launched.

SNAP is an experiment designed to learn the nature of dark energy by precisely measuring the expansion history of the universe by looking at exploding stars called supernovae.

Discovered in 1998, dark energy is now believed to make up 75 percent of the universe. Unlike matter, which slows the expansion of the universe, dark energy causes the expansion to accelerate.

"By observing thousands of type Ia supernovae, we will track the expansion history of the universe and determine the nature of dark energy," Tarlé said.

The Dark Energy Task Force commissioned by NASA, DOE, and the National Science Foundation has called dark energy among the most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science.

U-M scientists Myron Campbell, David Gerdes, Wolfgang Lorenzon, Tim McKay, Michael Schubnell and Shawn McKee, along with several undergraduate students and research engineer Bruce Bigelow and graduate student Matthew Brown, are working with Tarlé, the SNAP infrared coordinator, to develop the near-infrared system for the SNAP telescope.

SNAP Web site: snap.lbl.gov/

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: Soft, energy-efficient robotic wings

Related Stories

Image: Solar corona viewed by Proba-2

Mar 17, 2015

This snapshot of our constantly changing Sun catches looping filaments and energetic eruptions on their outward journey from our star's turbulent surface.

The dark fingers of the solar atmosphere

Dec 08, 2014

The Sun is bubbling, forming mysterious finger-like plasma structures in its gaseous envelope, the corona. A German-American team headed by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research has now succeeded ...

Recommended for you

CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

14 hours ago

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider just recently started testing the accelerator for running at the higher energy of 13 TeV, and already they have found new insights into the fundamental structure ...

Soft, energy-efficient robotic wings

Mar 31, 2015

Dielectric elastomers are novel materials for making actuators or motors with soft and lightweight properties that can undergo large active deformations with high-energy conversion efficiencies. This has ...

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.