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Astrophsyics

PCOS Science Goals

Precisely measure the cosmological parameters governing the evolution of the universe and test the inflation hypothesis of the Big Bang

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) originated just 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when the Universe was dense, hot, and opaque. As the Universe cooled, the light was decoupled and escape from the matter. We observe that same light today, stretched by the expansion of the universe to a cold 2.7K glow. Observations of the CMB have driven our understanding of the early Universe, and are one of the few probes of the inflationary epoch. Inflation describes the brief period of extraordinary expansion where the Universe went from the atomic scale to visible scales, and where small density fluctuations ultimately led to the large-scale structure—galaxies and clusters of galaxies—that we observe today. Maps of the CMB provide a precise measurement of the geometry of the Universe, and show that it is "flat," governed by Euclidean geometry on cosmic scales. The detailed spatial and statistical properties of CMB maps are consistent with the predictions of inflation. However, the physical process behind inflation remains unknown. New measurements of the polarization properties of the CMB will help uncover this process, which lies at energies and densities beyond standard particle physics, and beyond terrestrial particle accelerators. By searching for a characteristic polarization signal from a background of gravitational waves produced by inflation, we can infer the energy scale of inflation, which may lie at the scale of grand unification of the forces of nature.


The European Space Agency LISA observatory


PCOS News

Program News and Announcements

29 July 2020
SMD calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from currently funded researchers for augmentations and funded extensions to existing awards to help make up for increased costs directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. »  Details.
29 July 2020
Community Announcement: Intention to Amend ROSES-20 via a Future Appendix for Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM). »  Details.
27 July 2020
Snowmass 21 planning underway, with several topical groups on PCOS-related science. »  Details.
23 July 2020
New deadline set for JWST Cycle 1 General Observer proposals. Proposals will be due by 08:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday November 24, 2020. »  Details.
14 July 2020
The NASA LISA Study Team has released a report by their Science Support Task Force analyzing the impact that various levels of access, latency, and user support have on the ability of the US community to maximize the discovery potential of the ESA-led LISA mission. The report was submitted to NASA on 28 Feb 2020. [PDF] »  Details.
8 July 2020
NASA's Science Mission Directorate will hold a virtual community town hall with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and other members of the Science leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 9. »  Details.
7 July 2020
Second workshop to solicit and collect community input to help create a plan and timeline, or "roadmap," for SOFIA's instrument development to be held 27–29 July 2020. »  Details.
2 July 2020
NASA releases final text for Astrophysics Pioneers opportunity. Notices of Intent due 13 August 2020; proposals due 1 October 2020. »  Details.
1 July 2020
NASA releases draft text of Citizen Science Seed Funding Program. Deadline 30 July 2020. »  Details.
30 June 2020
NASA defers XRISM Guest Scientist Program to 2021. »  Details.
30 June 2020
SOFIA Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals Released. Deadline 4 September 2020. »  Details.
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.

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Links

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