Projects: Current Missions
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Launch date: 23 July 1999
The Chandra X-ray Observatory, a NASA Great Observatory, provides the most detailed view to date of the X-ray universe. With its exquisite imaging capabilities and high spectral resolution scientists have investigated phenomena as diverse as the spectra of Jupiter's aurora, the effects of dark energy on the growth of galaxy clusters, and the properties of faint x-ray sources in deep fields.
Launch date: 11 June 2008
The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST) is providing our deepest and most detailed map of the gamma-ray sky. Fermi has recorded high-energy gamma rays produced by supernovae, pulsars, extreme flows of energy from systems powered by black holes, and gamma-ray bursts.
Launch date: 10 Dec 1999
XMM-Newton, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is the second cornerstone of the ESA Horizon 2000 program. With high collecting area in the x-ray band, XMM provides vital information for studies of fundamental and relativistic processes from neutron stars and active galactic nuclei, the creation and dispersal of the elements in supernovae, the distribution of dark matter in clusters, groups, and elliptical galaxies, and young active stars to constrain models of the early solar system and star forming regions.
Related Current Missions
The following missions are part of the Explorer Program, but their science is closely related to the Physics of the Cosmos Theme.
Launch date: August 2017
The Cosmic-Ray Energetics and Mass for the International Space Station investigation, known as ISS-CREAM, places a highly successful balloon-borne instrument aboard the International Space Station where it gathers an order of magnitude (10 times) more data, which has lower background interference because Earth's atmosphere is no longer interfering. ISS-CREAM's instruments measure the charges of cosmic rays ranging from hydrogen up through iron nuclei, over a broad energy range. The modified balloon instrument is carried aloft on a Space X Dragon Lab cargo supply mission and placed on the Japanese Exposed Module for a period of at least three years.
Launch date: 3 June 2017
The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is an International Space Station (ISS) payload devoted to the study of neutron stars through soft X-ray timing. Neutron stars are unique environments in which all four fundamental forces of nature are simultaneously important. The nature of matter under these conditions is a decades-old unsolved problem, one most directly addressed with measurements of the masses and, especially, radii of neutron stars to high precision (i.e., better than 10 percent uncertainty). NICER will enable rotation-resolved spectroscopy of the thermal and non-thermal emissions of neutron stars in the soft (0.2-12 keV) X-ray band with unprecedented sensitivity, probing interior structure, the origins of dynamic phenomena, and the mechanisms that underlie the most powerful cosmic particle accelerators known.
Program News and Announcements
26 June 2020
Based on extensive feedback from the community, including the recent COPAG survey
and APAC discussion
, the Astrophysics Data Analysis Program will be solicited in ROSES-2021. » Details
16 June 2020
Senior Review of NASA Astrophysics Archives Report is now available here [PDF]
15 June 2020
Astrophysics Program Scientist civil servant positions at NASA Headquarters: open in USAJOBS June 29–July 6. » Details
15 June 2020
NASA's Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group Executive Committee (COPAG EC) is soliciting input on the impacts of COVID-19 on Cosmic Origins research via ADAP. The survey deadline has been extended until Friday, June 19, 2020
4 June 2020
Astrophysics Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting to be held June 23–24, 2020 » Details
3 June 2020
2020 Spring Meeting of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board/Space Studies Board, June 8–11, 2020 Details
3 June 2020
ROSES-20 Amendment 28: Final Text and Due Dates for Astrophysics Explorers U.S. Participating Investigators. Details
29 May 2020
Proposals for NASA's Strategic Astrophysics Technology will not be solicited in 2020, instead waiting for Decadal recommendations. » Details
28 May 2020
NASA SMD releases new five-year Science Plan, "Science 2020-2024: A Vision for Scientific Excellence." » Details
26 May 2020
NASA's Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group Executive Committee (COPAG EC) is soliciting input on the impacts of COVID-19 on Cosmic Origins research via ADAP. The survey closes on Monday, June 5, 2020
20 May 2020
NASA names WFIRST
in honor of Nancy Grace Roman
, a tireless advocate for new tools that would allow scientists to study the broader universe from space. » Details
18 May 2020
NASA releases DRAFT text for a new "Astrophysics Pioneers" opportunity. Comments due June 15, 2020
. » Details
18 May 2020
Join NASA Science Live at 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, 20 May 2020, for an exciting announcement on WFIRST! Details and participation links here
7 May 2020
Provide your input on balloon platform capabilities that could enable your science in the next 10 years by completing this survey
for NASA's Scientific Balloon Program.
29 Apr 2020
NASA SMD calls for nominations, including self-nominations, to serve on the WFIRST
Science Interest Group (WSIG). » Details
27 Apr 2020
NASA SMD anticipates one or more short-window openings this summer for civil servant Program Scientists at NASA HQ. » Details
16 Apr 2020
HaloSat Year 1 Data now eligible for funding under ADAP. » Details