This computer drawing shows MAP leaving the Sun, Earth and Moon behind as it heads towards the L2 Lagrange point 1.5 million kilometers beyond Earth.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of the MAP Science Team, NASA
Capturing the Afterglow of the Big Bang (Updated!)
News story originally written on July 10, 2001
Good news! The Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) was launched successfully last Saturday! Liftoff happened on time on June 30, 2001. The MAP teams says they couldn't have asked for a better start to the mission!
After the Big Bang, the universe was really hot!
The leftover heat from that time is still around today. It is called
Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB).
CMB radiation is everywhere! It is in front of your computer screen, under your chair, past Pluto and all over the universe!
MAP will make a map of CMB radiation. This will help scientists answer questions like these: What happened right
after the Big Bang? How were galaxies formed? What is the shape of the universe?
The MAP probe will make its CMB radiation map from the L2 Lagrange point, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. It will take MAP 3 months to get that far out in space. Then MAP will take about 18 months to finish a map of the CMB radiation across the universe.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
When we look up at the night sky, we notice that there are many stars in our sky. Stars must like to live together in star cities - galaxies. Our city of stars is called the Milky Way, and it is home to...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more