Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SPACE SCIENCE
NASA To 'Map' Big Bang Remnant To Study Early Universe

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe began about 14 billion years ago as an unimaginably hot and dense fog of light and exotic particles. The Universe has since continuously expanded and cooled.<
Greenbelt - June 12, 2001
The Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP), scheduled for launch June 30, will journey into deep space on a voyage to explore some of the deepest mysteries of the cosmos.

Scientists hope to determine the content, shape, history, and the ultimate fate of the universe, by constructing a full-sky picture of the oldest light. MAP is designed to capture the afterglow of the Big Bang, which comes to us from a time well before there were any stars, galaxies or quasars.

Patterns imprinted within this afterglow carry with them the answers to mysteries such as: What happened during the first instant after the Big Bang? How did the Universe evolve into the complex patterns of galaxies that we see today? Will the Universe expand forever or will it collapse?

To answer these questions, MAP's measured pattern of the Big Bang's afterglow, like a fingerprint, will be compared against the unique fingerprint pattern predicted by each cosmic scenario to find the right match.

"We are tremendously excited about this mission because it will help answer basic questions that people have been asking for ages," said Dr. Charles L. Bennett, Principal Investigator for the MAP mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "MAP's unprecedented accuracy and precision will allow us to determine the nature and destiny of the universe."

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe began about 14 billion years ago as an unimaginably hot and dense fog of light and exotic particles. The Universe has since continuously expanded and cooled.

The whole Universe is bathed in the afterglow light from the Big Bang. The light that is now reaching us has been traveling for about 14 billion years, thus allowing us a look back through time to see the early Universe.

"The cosmic microwave light is a fossil," says Professor David T. Wilkinson, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. "Just as we can study dinosaur bones and reconstruct their lives of millions of years ago, we can probe this ancient light and reconstruct the Universe as it was about 14 billion years ago."

MAP views the infant universe by measuring the tiny temperature differences within the extraordinarily evenly dispersed microwave light, which now averages a frigid 2.73 degrees above absolute zero temperature.

MAP will resolve the slight temperature fluctuations, which vary by only millionths of a degree. These temperature differences point back to density differences in the young Universe, where denser regions gave way to the vast web-like structure of galaxies that we see today.

A great deal of effort over the past 35 years has gone into measurements of the afterglow light from the Big Bang. In 1992, NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite discovered tiny patterns, or "anisotropy," in its full-sky picture of the light.

Balloon-borne and ground-based experiments have further advanced our knowledge. The upcoming MAP full-sky picture, to be made with unprecedented accuracy and precision, will dramatically revolutionize our view of the Universe. MAP required an extraordinary design to achieve its accurate and precise measurement capability. "Nothing has ever been built like it before," said Dr. Edward Wollack, a science team member at Goddard.

"To measure the cosmic glow reliably to a part in a million, to millionths of a degree has been the grand challenge. That's like measuring the weight of a cup of sand down to the resolution of a single grain."

About a month after its launch on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, FL, MAP will swing past the Moon, boosting its orbit to the second Lagrange Point, or L2. This is the first time a spacecraft will be in orbit around the L2 point.

The Italian-French mathematician Josef Lagrange discovered five special points in the vicinity of two orbiting masses where a third, smaller mass can orbit at a fixed distance from the larger masses. L2 is four times further than the Moon in the direction away from the Sun and requires very little fuel to maintain orbit.

After a three month journey, MAP will begin to chart the faint microwave glow from the Big Bang. It will take about 18 months to build up a full-sky picture and perform the analysis.

The MAP hardware and software were produced by Goddard and Princeton. Science team members are also located at the University of Chicago, IL; the University of California, Los Angeles; Brown University, Providence, RI; and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. MAP, an Explorer mission, cost about $145 million.

Related Links
MAP at Goddard
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

SPACE SCIENCE
MAP Spacecraft Arrives At KSC To Begin Launch Preparations
KSC - April 24, 2001
NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) arrived today at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The spacecraft will undergo final readiness preparations for its upcoming launch this summer aboard a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only






Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.