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The universe is filled with sub-atomic particles flying through space at nearly light speed. The ACE satellite is designed to measure particles that arrive from the Sun, interplanetary space, and the far reaches of our galaxy. ACE data help us to understand the composition, origin and acceleration of matter within our galaxy, and how these sub-atomic particles affect Earth.
To learn more about ACE science visit: http://www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE
To learn more about ACE education visit: http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov
The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a space telescope that detects X-ray light. X-rays are produced in regions of the universe where temperatures are very hot. Probing these regions with X-ray eyes reveals to us a universe of violent explosions and giant black holes. Chandra is one of NASA's four "Great Observatories", the others being the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope.
To learn more about Chandra science, visit: http://chandra.harvard.edu/
To learn more about Chandra education, visit: http://chandra.harvard.edu/edu
Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer)
Many millions of years ago a nearby star exploded, sending a shock wave blasting through the tenuous gas and dust that lies between the stars. The remnants of this shock wave, a diffuse bubble of incredibly hot plasma, still exists, and our solar system lies within its boundary. CHIPS is a space telescope that studies this plasma, which glows in ultraviolet light, giving us insight into the life cycles of stars and the ecology of our galaxy.
To learn more about CHIPS science, visit: http://chips.ssl.berkeley.edu/
To learn more about CHIPS education, visit: http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/chips_epo
Galaxies are cities of stars, and by comparing star birth and star death in nearby galaxies with those galaxies far away, astronomers can get an idea of how the universe is evolving over time. GALEX will study galaxies by observing ultraviolet light, a region of the spectrum where the biggest, brightest and hottest stars light up a galaxy, to trace the history of star formation throughout the history of the universe.
To learn more about GALEX science, go to: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/
To learn more about GALEX education, go to: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/EDUCATION/education.html
Einstein's theory of gravity tells us that mass curves space, and that a spinning mass, such as a planet or star, will drag space itself around with it.As the Gravity Probe-B satellite orbits the Earth, it will precisely measure the distortion of space due to the presence of the Earth, using gyroscopes to test Einstein's theory of general relativity. Although the Earth's effect is tiny, Gravity Probe-B's discoveries have far-reaching implications for the nature of matter and the structure of the universe.
To learn more about Gravity Probe B science, visit: http://einstein.stanford.edu
To learn more about Gravity Probe B education, visit:
Energy Transient Explorer)
About twice a day, mysterious flashes of high-energy gamma-ray light appear in the sky - what are they and why do they occur? As HETE detects and pinpoints these gamma-ray bursts, it relays the coordinates to a network of telescopes in orbit and on the ground, telescopes that can then study those locations more carefully. HETE will be joined in its quest to detect and locate gamma-ray bursts by NASA's Swift mission.
To learn more about HETE science, visit: http://space.mit.edu/HETE
To learn more about HETE education, visit: http://space.mit.edu/CSR/outreach/HETE_EPO.html
Gamma Ray Astrophysics Laboratory)
Supernovae, the explosive deaths of the most massive stars, are a main source of gamma radiation. Produced by the radioactive decay of unstable elements created in the violent chaos of such explosions, this gamma-ray energy is detected by the European Space Agency's INTEGRAL telescope. Studying the radioactive decay of these elements gives us important insight into the chemical evolution of our cosmos.
To learn more about INTEGRAL science, visit:
To learn more about INTEGRAL education, visit: http://isdc.unige.ch/index.cgi?Outreach+outreach
X-ray Timing Explorer)
Everything in the universe is changing, evolving. RXTE is an X-ray space telescope that is very sensitive to changes on timescales ranging from milliseconds to millions of years. This fine-tuned sensitivity allows it to monitor a wide range of astronomical phenomena – how black holes spin, how stars pulsate, how the remnants of exploded stars flash. By observing the associated change in brightness for each object, we can get a clearer picture of the physical processes involved.
To learn more about RXTE science, visit: http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/
To learn more about RXTE education, visit: http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/learning_center/
Just as visible light has a spectrum ranging from low energy (red) to high energy (violet), so X-rays have a range of energy, low to high. Suzaku is a joint US-Japanese space telescope that studies the "color" of X-rays from distant galaxies or the remnants of exploded stars. The information revealed by Suzaku will tell astronomers what these distant objects are made of, and how they are changing over time.
To learn more about Suzaku science, visit: http://astroe2.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe/astroegof.html
To learn more about Suzaku education, visit: http://astroe2.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe_lc/
Wave Astronomy satellite)
We can trace our ancestry back to the space between the stars, where giant clouds of molecules hold all the ingredients for new stars, new planets and life itself. SWAS studies the composition of these interstellar molecular clouds, understanding their composition and the process by which they collapse to form the next generation of stars and planets.
To learn more about SWAS science, visit: http://sunland.gsfc.nasa.gov/smex/swas/
To learn more about SWAS education, visit: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/swas/
About twice a day, there is a sudden flash of gamma rays in the sky. These flashes, called gamma ray bursts, last from seconds to minutes, and appear randomly in the sky, so it is very difficult for telescopes to "home in" on them before they fade from view. Swift is a space telescope that lives up to its name, being able to react rapidly to these events, and swiftly report their appearance to astronomers on Earth. This rapid response will help scientists probe and potentially unravel the mysteries of these enigmatic bursts.
To learn more about Swift science, visit: http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/
To learn more about Swift education, visit: http://swift.sonoma.edu
Microwave Anisotropy Probe)
WMAP has taken the universe's baby picture by detecting the left-over heat from the Big Bang. The microwave light detected by WMAP traces the density and temperature of the universe only 300,000 years after the Big Bang. These measurements reveal the age of the universe, 13.7 billion years, the shape of the universe, the number of atoms in the visible universe and the amount of matter in the visible universe.
To learn more about WMAP science, visit: http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov
To learn more about WMAP education, visit: http://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_or/tr_list.html
Multi Mirror space telescope)
The most extreme events in the universe reveal themselves in X-ray light. Exploding stars, black holes and colliding galaxies are environments where X-rays are produced. Developed by the European Space Agency, XMM-Newton is the most sensitive X-ray space telescope ever built. It complements NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope and together, their X-ray eyes allow astronomers to construct an accurate picture of the high-energy events of the X-ray universe.
To learn more about XMM-Newton science, visit:
To learn more about XMM-Newton education, visit: http://xmm.sonoma.edu
To learn more about NASA's other current space science missions,
Invisible to our unaided eye, high-energy X-rays reveal a hot, turbulent universe. Constellation-X is a group of four telescopes working together to give us the most detailed images of the X-ray universe. Constellation-X will be able to peer at matter tumbling into black holes, catching their last few seconds of existence before they disappear from our universe forever, and map the streams of ultra-hot gas that links all the galaxies together in a tangled web of normal and dark matter. One of the core missions in NASA's Beyond Einstein program, Constellation-X is 100 times more sensitive than the current X-ray space telescopes, Chandra and XMM-Newton.
To learn more about Constellation-X science, visit:
To learn more about Constellation-X education, visit:
Large Area Space Telescope)
GLAST is a space telescope that detects gamma-ray light, the highest energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Gamma radiation comes from extreme regions of the universe such as supernovae and supernova remnants, and from the turbulent streams of gas falling into giant black holes that reside at the cores of galaxies. GLAST is the successor to the highly successful Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which ended its mission in 2000.
To learn more about GLAST science, visit: http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/
To learn more about GLAST education, visit: http://glast.sonoma.edu/
Interferometer Space Antenna)
Einstein's theory of gravity predicts the existence of gravitational waves - ripples in space itself. A revolutionary type of space probe, LISA will measure the distortions in space-time caused by the gravitational wave ripples from immense cosmic events, such as the collision of two black holes. By the time the ripples reach Earth and LISA, they are almost immeasurably small, and the task of detecting these ripples will push engineering technology to its limit. Along with Constellation-X, LISA is one of the core missions in NASA's Beyond Einstein program.
To learn more about LISA science, visit: http://lisa.jpl.nasa.gov
To learn more about LISA education, visit: http://lisa.jpl.nasa.gov/education.html
To learn more about NASA's other future space science missions, visit
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