"Thousands of years ago, on a small rocky planet orbiting a modest star in an ordinary spiral galaxy, our remote ancestors looked up and wondered about their place between Earth and sky. Today, we ask the same profound questions:
How did the universe begin and evolve?
How did we get here?
Where are we going?
Are we alone?
Today, after only the blink of an eye in cosmic time, we are beginning to answer these questions. In the last 40 years, space probes and space observatories have played a central role in this process of discovery.
Cosmic Journeys is a new series of space-science missions that will explore the essence of time, gravity, matter, and energy.
What powered the Big Bang? What is the Universe made of? What is the nature of space and time? These are the key questions that Cosmic Journeys seeks to answer.
New discoveries in space, such as evidence of a mysterious "dark energy" expanding the Universe and the apparent ubiquity of black holes of all sizes, have placed us on the verge of a scientific breakthrough that will revolutionize the field of physics. The moment is analogous to the dawn of the 20th century, when the discovery of the electron and other phenomena set the stage for the new paradigm of quantum physics and general relativity.
Scientists are at the edge of their seats. In recent years, we have learned that 95% of the Universe is made of a type of matter or energy that we cannot see nor understand. Gravity may ripple across the Universe in waves, one of the last unverified predictions of Einstein's theory of general relativity. And certain cosmic rays, atomic particles moving at near light speed, possess an energy far greater than that which can be explained by modern physics..........
Our missions and research generate most of the coolest news coming out of NASA. We are responsible for all of NASA's programs relating to astronomy, the solar system, and the sun and its interaction with Earth. Our science stretches from the middle levels of Earth's atmosphere to the beginning of the universe, billions of light years away........."
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