Scientists at NASA will launch into space a balloon payload designed to look for signatures of cosmological inflation.
A team led by scientist Al Kogut at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland will fly the Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer observatory later this year to find evidence of primordial gravitational waves associated with the accelerated expansion of the universe, NASA said Tuesday.
“If we find it, it will be direct observational proof that gravity obeys quantum mechanics,” Kogut said.
PIPER has two telescopes, a polarization module designed to uncover polarized light and superconducting tools that will work to detect far-infrared wavelength bands.
The research team plans to perform a scientific balloon trial flight from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, in June and get a view of the Northern Hemisphere through a follow-up mission at the space agency’s launch site in New Mexico in September.
Orbital ATK runs CSBF for NASA and also offers engineering, field operations and mission planning support for NASA’s scientific balloon initiative.