The galaxy cluster Abell 1689 is famous for the way it bends light in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. A new study of the cluster is revealing secrets about how dark energy shapes the universe. CREDIT: NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM)

NASA’s Donated Spy Telescopes May Aid Dark Energy Search

by Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 14 January 2013 Time: 07:00 AM ET

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Astronomers are excited by the possibility of using one of two cast-off spy satellite telescopes gifted to NASA to probe for dark energy.

They have already come up with a design that would incorporate the spy telescope into the proposed Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a high-priority NASA mission that would hunt for dark energy, exoplanets and supernovae.

Though a final review and economic analysis won’t be released until April, the new design based on the donated scopes would boost WFIRST’s abilities significantly, some researchers say. But the concept could also require more power and a bigger launch vehicle, potentially raising the project’s roughly $1.5 billion price tag.

Read More: NASA's Donated Spy Telescopes May Aid Dark Energy Hunt | Space.

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