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Astrophsyics

PCOS Science Goals

Expand our knowledge of dark energy

The discovery that the expansion of space is accelerating presents one of the most important scientific problems of our time. The implication that the universe is dominated by an unknown entity, now called "dark energy," that counters the attractive force of gravity, may revolutionize our understanding of cosmology and fundamental physics. Although observations with ground-based and orbital assets—including HST, Chandra, and WMAP—have confirmed the acceleration, we know very little about the most basic properties of dark energy. There is currently no theory based on known physics that can quantitatively explain dark energy. Quantum physics over-predicts the amount of observed dark energy by a factor of 10120. Empirical observations are critical to distinguishing whether dark energy is consistent with Einstein's Cosmological Constant, whether it is due to a dynamic quintessence field that changes over space and time, or whether it is simply a failure of Einstein's General theory of Relativity at cosmic scales. Because it seems to control the expansion of the Universe, we cannot predict the fate of the Universe—Will the Universe last forever?—without understanding the physical nature of dark energy.



PCOS News

Program News and Announcements

1 February 2019
Dr Terri Brandt confirmed as PCOS Chief Scientist.
20 December 2018
LISA Preparatory Science 2018 (LPS) proposals have been selected! »  Full details
17 December 2018
NASA HQ has publicly posted an updated Astrophysics Implementation Plan (AIP), detailing progress made by NASA's Astrophysics Division in implementing the 2010 Decadal recommendations since the previous update in 2016. Please see »  full details
29 November 2018
The National Academies has released updated information about the 2020 Decadal Survey call for Community Science White Papers. They are now due 7 January–19 February 2019. See here for further instructions. Further, it is our pleasure to announce that the President of the National Academy of Sciences Marcia McNutt has appointed Dr. Fiona Harrison and Dr. Robert Kennicutt, Jr. to serve as co-chairs of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey committee.

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  • NASA Official: Phil Newman
  • Web Curator: Pat Tyler
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