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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

31 May 2019
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA SMD Associate Administrator, invites the science community to a live-streamed national colloquium on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 (4:00–6:00 pm EDT) on "Writing Successful Mission Proposals: Observations from NASA." To attend in person at the University of Colorado campus, please RSVP here. The live stream will be available here. For further details, please see the colloquium invitation. »  Details
17 May 2019
Following up on a Nov 2018 mission PI diversity workshop, the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is planning a number of exciting opportunities open to community participation, including a new website for potential PIs, pre-review mission panels to ensure diversity and reduce conflicts of interest, research proposal writing workshops at conferences and for PIs developing their first proposal, career development positions, and a presentation by SMD Associate Administrator Thomas H. Zurbuchen on proposal statistical analysis. Please see the Associate Administrator's full update here.
16 May 2019
June 1 2019 is the deadline for filling and submitting the technology gap submission form. We encourage members of the community to identify such gaps between today's state-of-the-art and what will be needed for missions identified by the 2010 Decadal Survey, the 2018 Astrophysics Implementation Plan, and/or the 30-year Astrophysics Road Map. Please see the Astrophysics Division Technologists letter for more details, including how to submit a gap.
25 March 2019
NASA HQ Astrophysics Division has created a task force to assess NASA's role in strategic optimization of Gravitational Wave Electromagnetic Counterpart (GW-EM) astrophysics. See the Terms of Reference for more details.
1 February 2019
Dr Terri Brandt confirmed as PCOS Chief Scientist.

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