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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.


The European Space Agency LISA observatory


PCOS News

Program News and Announcements

18 January 2021
Meeting of Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) on 26–27 January 2021 »  Details.
14 January 2021
NuSTAR General Observer Cycle 7 Proposal Deadline 29 January 2021 »  Details.
6 January 2021
Draft Astrophysics Explorers Program Solicitations Released for Community Comment for Solicitations for both Medium Explorer (MIDEX) and Missions of Opportunity (APEXMO) and Comments for both draft solicitations due by 25 February 2021 »  Details.
16 December 2020
The 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Virtually Anywhere, 11–15 January 2021, will include Physics of the Cosmos events. The PCOS AAS2021 Meeting page lists currently scheduled sessions, presentations, chats, and displays »  Details.
4 December 2020
Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM) Step-2 Due Date. Step-2 proposals now due 3 February 2021. Step-1 proposal due date unchanged as 11 December 2020 »  Details.
4 December 2020
Release of Final text and Due Dates for ROSES Post-COVID Recovery program. Requests received by 4 January 2021 will be processed first. Final due date is 5 March 2021. »  Details.

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