By now, you’ve probably heard that two Americans, John C. Mather and George F. Smoot, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. We’re proud of them, go team, yeah. But right on their heels are those crazy Europeans with their new satellite. Called Planck, it’s planned for launch in 2008 and it builds on the work of Mather and Smoot. It will be looking to answer some of the questions COBE left unanswered about the origins of the universe such as whether the universe suffered a period of sudden exponential expansion shortly after the Big Bang. The new satellite has ten times better sensitivity and more than fifty times the angular resolution of COBE, which makes it 1000x more powerful than COBE. Look out universe, the Euros are coming for you.
ESA’s Planck satellite builds on Nobel-prize-winning science [Eureka Alert]