Life of the Cosmos

Life of the Cosmos

  • Submitted By: malcy98
  • Date Submitted: 07/07/2011 6:37 AM
  • Category: Science
  • Words: 15820
  • Page: 64
  • Views: 784

Mission Directorate: Theme:

Science Astrophysics

Theme Overview NASA's goal in astrophysics is to "Discover how the universe works, explore how the universe began and evolved, and search for Earth-like planets." Three broad scientific questions emanate from this goal. How do matter, energy, space, and time behave under the extraordinarily diverse conditions of the cosmos? How did the universe originate and evolve to produce the galaxies, stars, and planets we see today? What are the characteristics of planetary systems orbiting other stars, and do they harbor life? The Astrophysics Theme addresses these questions via an integrated strategy incorporating a robust research and technology program, at least nine operating missions and six flight projects in various stages of planning and execution. This year's Astrophysics programmatic strategy is informed by the National Academies; recently released decadal survey titled "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics."The Astrophysics Theme represents a balance between bold new initiatives that open the universe to new discoveries and support for activities that strengthen the foundations of the research enterprise that are essential to the cycle of discovery. The Astrophysics programs that support the integrated strategy are as follows: - The Physics of the Cosmos (POCS) Program contains missions that explore the most fundamental and extreme physical conditions of the universe, from black holes and gravitational waves to dark matter and dark energy. These missions will enable the study of the building blocks of existence at the most basic level: matter, energy, space, and time; - The Cosmic Origins Program comprises projects that enable the study of how galaxies, stars and planetary systems came into being, how they evolve, and ultimately how they end their lives; - The Exoplanet Exploration Program contains missions that help search for Earth-like planets around other stars. These missions will...

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