Quest for Dark Energy May Fade to Black

An ambitious $1.6 billion spacecraft that would investigate the mysterious force that is apparently accelerating the expansion of the universe — and search out planets around other stars, to boot — might have to be postponed for a decade, NASA says, because of cost overruns and mismanagement on a separate project, the James Webb Space Telescope. The news has dismayed many American astronomers, who worry they will wind up playing second fiddle to their European counterparts in what they say is the deepest mystery in the universe, writes Dennis Overby for The New York Times.

A NASA announcement in November 2010 the James Webb Space Telescope, which had been scheduled for a 2014 launching, would require at least another $1.6 billion and several more years to finish, pushing Wfirst, for Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, the next big mission to 2022 at the very earliest.


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