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A Babe in the Universe

End of Beyond Einstein?

11 Apr 2011, 00:15 UTC
End of Beyond Einstein?
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With a hat tip to Steinn Sigurdsson and Kea, last week saw rumours that both the Laser Interferometry Space Array (LISA) and an International X-Ray Observatory (IXO) were to lose funding. For years this blog been chronicling NASA's Beyond Einstein program and the effect of "dark energy." The writer attended the Beyond Einstein conference in Stanford during 2004 and the HEAD meeting in San Francisco during 2006, where Principal Investigator Harvey Tanenbaum described the planned X-Ray mission. In 2006 a scientist argued before the National Research Council that emphasis on DE would be bad for science. LISA was a plan to send 3 spacecraft in formation to detect hypothetical gravity waves. IXO evolved from CON-X, a Space-based X-Ray observatory. These were considered first priorities in the Beyond Einstein program, yet in 2007 were pushed out of line in favour of a Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM). In August 2010 JDEM was itself replaced by WFIRST, which would seek extrasolar planets and look for DE on the way. WFIRST has been described as "a hack of a powerpoint presentation no one else had seen." November brought news that the entire astrophysics budget would be eaten by cost overruns on the James ...

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