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Map Ready To Take Photographic Trip Back In Time

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  • SHnSASSY1@aol.com
    Subj: MAP READY TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHIC TRIP BACK IN TIME Date: 10/1/01 12:15:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time From:    NASANews@hq.nasa.gov Sender:   
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2001
      Date: 10/1/01 12:15:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time
      From:    NASANews@...
      Sender:    owner-press-release@...

      Dolores Beasley
      Headquarters, Washington                   Oct. 2, 2001
      (Phone: 202/358-1753)

      Nancy Neal
      Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      (Phone: 301/286-0039)

      RELEASE: 01-188


           After its three-month journey in space, NASA's Microwave
      Anisotropy Probe (MAP) moved into its new home a million
      miles from Earth and is ready to chart the oldest light in
      the cosmos.

      "We can now begin the process of observing the remnants of
      the early Universe," said Dr. Charles L. Bennett, MAP
      Principal Investigator from NASA's Goddard Space Flight
      Center in Greenbelt, Md. "There is great anticipation within
      the astronomy community about this mission because of the
      potential it has to give us key clues to the content, shape,
      history and the ultimate fate of our Universe."

      MAP, launched June 30, 2001, and was placed into a highly
      elliptical orbit around the Earth. From there, the spacecraft
      team executed a series of maneuvers using on-board thrusters
      to bring MAP around the Earth three times and position it for
      a gravity-assist boost from the Moon. The lunar swing-by
      occurred a month after launch, on July 30.

      Since then, MAP has cruised toward L2, a quasi-stable
      position one million miles from Earth in the direction
      opposite the Sun. While previous missions have passed through
      the L2 neighborhood, MAP is the first mission to use an L2
      orbit as its permanent observing station.

      All of MAP's spacecraft and instrument systems are performing
      admirably. "Both the operations team and the science team are
      ecstatic because of MAP's outstanding performance," added
      Bennett. "Everything is going extremely well."

      MAP will scan the skies over two years, collecting
      information on the faint cosmic glow in five distinct
      wavebands of light. The data will be analyzed and made into a
      full sky map for each waveband. The first sky map results are
      expected about December 2002.

      The space probe will collect the information needed to make a
      map of the entire sky in the microwave light left over from
      the Big Bang. The entire universe is bathed in this afterglow
      light. This is the oldest light in the universe and has been
      traveling for 14 billion years. The patterns in this light
      across the sky encode a wealth of details about the nature,
      composition and destiny of the universe.

      The images of the infant universe are viewed by measuring
      tiny temperature differences within the microwave light,
      which now averages 2.73 degrees above absolute zero. The
      extraordinary design of MAP allows it to measure the slight
      temperature fluctuations to within millionths of a degree.
      The unprecedented accuracy of MAP has the potential to
      revolutionize current views of the universe.

      MAP was produced in partnership between Princeton University,
      N.J., and Goddard. Goddard and Princeton University produced
      the MAP hardware and software. In addition to Goddard and
      Princeton, science team members are located at the University
      of Chicago, the University of California, Los Angeles, Brown
      University, Providence, R.I., and the University of the
      British of Columbia, Vancouver.

      MAP, an Explorer mission, is managed by Goddard for NASA's
      Office of Space Science in Washington at a cost of about $95

      More information is available on the Internet at:


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