Overview

The Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) Program lies at the intersection of physics and astronomy. Its purpose is to explore some of the most fundamental questions regarding the physical forces and laws of the universe: the validity of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the nature of spacetime; the behavior of matter and energy in extreme environments; the cosmological parameters governing inflation and the evolution of the universe; and the nature of dark matter and dark energy. PCOS takes us beyond Einstein and beyond the Standard Model.

The PCOS Program consists of a suite of operating science missions and possible future missions that focus on specific aspects of these questions. The Chandra and XMM-Newton observatories probe the universe in X-rays using detailed images and spectroscopy to study matter under a broad range of physical conditions. INTEGRAL and now Fermi study the phenomena with the highest energy emission looking for new physics in the gamma-ray regime. Planck provides an order of magnitude increase in the precision with which we measure the Cosmic Microwave Background. The next generation of PCOS missions will build on the discoveries of these missions and take us to the next stages of discovery.

Program News

15 May 2017
PCOS Program Office Call for Technology Gap submissions, due 1 June 2017 »  Details
20 Mar 2017
Astrophysics Probe mission studies selected (3/20/2017) »  [PDF]
6 Mar 2017
Terms of Reference (ToR) for the PhysPAG have been updated. »  [PDF]

Project News

Chandra News
2 May 2017
Scientists Find Giant Wave Rolling through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster » Details
Fermi News
30 Jan 2017
NASA's Fermi Discovers the Most Extreme Blazars Yet » Details
Planck News
13 Aug 2016
First Stars Formed Even Later Than Previously Thought
» Details
XMM-Newton News
1 May 2017
Rapid Changes Point to Origin of Ultra-fast Black Hole Winds » Details

Related News

Hitomi News
6 July 2016
Hitomi Mission Charts Hot Winds of a Galaxy Cluster for the First Time »  Details
NuSTAR News
3 Mar 2017
NuSTAR Probes Puzzling Galaxy Merger » Details
Suzaku News
26 Aug 2015
X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Suzaku" Completes Scientific Mission » Details
Swift News
20 Mar 2017
NASA's Swift Mission Maps a Star's 'Death Spiral' into a Black Hole » Details