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New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
eral dark energy projects including the Baryon Oscillations Spectroscopic Survey on the Apache Point Observatory 2.5-meter telescope, and a new Dark Energy Camera to be installed on the 4-meter Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, small but pioneering efforts on CMB research, and R&D for upcoming projects. Many of these investments are collaborative with either NASA or NSF (NSF-AST and NSF-PHY). In addition, DOE supports a vibrant program of underground dark matter direct-detection experiments and related research and development as part of the cosmic frontier core area. DOE also continues to provide adaptive optics (AO) expertise for instruments on ground-based telescopes. High-energy-density facilities of its National Nuclear Security Administration and laboratory experiments growing out of the Fusion Energy Sciences program play an increasing role in laboratory astrophysics.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA successfully operates a fleet of nine space telescopes at present and collaborates on several foreign missions (Box 6.1). The annual operating astrophysics budget is roughly $1 billion. All major astrophysics projects are managed by NASA centers,3 whereas smaller Explorer-class spacecraft experiments can be led by university-based teams. What is striking about the past decade is that nearly all space astrophysics missions have surpassed expectations, both in the technical performance achieved and in the scientific discoveries made. This remarkable accomplishment is one in which the nation can take great pride. Two European space missions with significant U.S. participation, Herschel, a far-infrared telescope, and Planck, a cosmic microwave background experiment, have been launched recently and appear to be working very well. X-ray telescopes led by Japan (Suzaku) and Europe (XMM-Newton) are also producing exciting results and have significant U.S. participation and contributions.
The largest space telescope currently under construction is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST; Figure 6.2). It was the top large space mission recommended as a result of the 2001 decadal survey4 and is a successor to both the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is scheduled for launch in 2014. The ambition (the cost exceeds $5 billion) and challenge (the mirror is 2.5 times the diameter of the Hubble mirror) represented by JWST have led to delay in the remaining space astrophysics program proposed in the 2001 decadal survey. JWST
Typically one of the following: Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, or Jet Propulsion Laboratory.