After decades of research, scientists have learned that the universe emerged after the big bang about 14 billion years ago and has been expanding rapidly ever since. Since we already know the past of the cosmos, NASA says its upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will also uncover its future. Scheduled to launch no earlier than 2025, this new telescope would team up with the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope to solve the dark energy puzzle to make unprecedented revelations.
What exactly is dark energy?
Although there are a few possible explanations, scientists are struggling to define exactly what dark energy is. However, they know that this dark energy could have something to do with the expansion of the universe. Scientists also know that dark energy is present all around us, in the room we are in and even inside our body. Theories suggest that dark energy still works on us but is countered by Earth’s gravitational force which keeps us from flying. NASA says dark energy is only noticeable on an intergalactic scale when it acts as a weak opposition to gravity.
The fate of our universe
The Nancy Roman Grace Space Telescope is being prepared to observe the universe in infrared, which would provide new clues about dark energy. “Finding out how dark energy has affected the expansion of the universe in the past will shed some light on how it will influence expansion in the future. If it continues to accelerate the expansion of the universe, we could be destined to experience a “great tear,” the agency said in a statement, further stating that the study of dark energy is important because it could cause galaxies, planets and humans to shatter into because of its eventual dominance over other fundamental forces of nature.
Explaining how astronomers would study dark energy, NASA revealed that they would use the Roman Telescope to study Type Ia supernovae that occur when white dwarf stars explode. Scientists would then note the particular wavelengths of light emerging from supernovae to find out how fast dying stars are moving away from us. These distances would then be combined with measurements of their luminosity to determine how dark energy has evolved over time.