The Chandra X-ray Observatory, a NASA Great Observatory, provides the most detailed view to date of the X-ray universe. With its exquisite imaging capabilities and high spectral resolution scientists have investigated phenomena as diverse as the spectra of Jupiter's aurora, the effects of dark energy on the growth of galaxy clusters, and the properties of faint x-ray sources in deep fields.
The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST) is providing our deepest and most detailed map of the gamma-ray sky. Fermi has recorded high-energy gamma rays produced by supernovae, pulsars, extreme flows of energy from systems powered by black holes, and gamma-ray bursts.
Planck Surveyor is an ESA-led mission that is making a precise, full-sky map of the Big Bang's cosmic microwave background (CMB). By measuring minute fluctuations in the CMB temperature and polarization at all angular scales, Planck will stringently test the theory of inflation, and will provide the most accurate information to date on the overall composition, shape, and early expansion history of the universe.
XMM-Newton, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is the second cornerstone of the ESA Horizon 2000 program. With high collecting area in the x-ray band, XMM provides vital information for studies of fundamental and relativistic processes from neutron stars and active galactic nuclei, the creation and dispersal of the elements in supernovae, the distribution of dark matter in clusters, groups, and elliptical galaxies, and young active stars to constrain models of the early solar system and star forming regions.
The following missions are part of the Explorer Program, but their science is closely related to the Physics of the Cosmos Theme.