Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus


Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission. NASA contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck’s science instruments, and U.S., European and Canadian scientists work together to analyze the Planck data.

The map results suggest the universe is expanding more slowly than scientists thought, and is 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous estimates. The data also show there is less dark energy and more matter, both normal and dark matter, in the universe than previously known. Dark matter is an invisible substance that can only be seen through the effects of its gravity, while dark energy is pushing our universe apart. The nature of both remains mysterious.

“Astronomers worldwide have been on the edge of their seats waiting for this map,” said Joan Centrella, Planck program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These measurements are profoundly important to many areas of science, as well as future space missions. We are so pleased to have worked with the European Space Agency on such a historic endeavor.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-109
Also: http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/news-and-events/2013/Mar/planck-challenges-our-understanding-of-the-universe
Also: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Planck/Planck_reveals_an_almost_perfect_Universe
Also: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-110
Also: http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=2967
Also: http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S36/38/99C85/

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