June 14th, 2012
04:32 PM ET

Solving the mystery of black holes

Editor's note: Meg Urry is the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy and chairwoman of the department of physics at Yale University, where she is the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. This article was written in association with the Op-Ed Project.

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) - In Ballroom E of the Den'aina conference center here Wednesday, a small group of astronomers and journalists listened to the NASA feed from Kwajalein island, between Hawaii and Australia, where a Pegasus rocket aboard an L1011 plane was about to launch the NuSTAR space telescope. I was there as a member of the science team for NuSTAR, which is part of NASA's Small Explorer program

Many years in the making, NuSTAR carries an important scientific instrument designed to look for energetic X-rays from cosmic sources like black holes and exploded stars.

Most of us know about X-rays used for diagnostic imaging of broken limbs or for security scans at the airport. They are a high-energy form of light, energetic enough to penetrate clothing or flesh.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Tru Blue America

    NASA equals a huge waste of money, finally America is vexed about huge amounts of tax paying dollars be wasted. Need it right here good ole' America, not Mars.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • I'm The Best

      You do realize that the money they spend on these things goes to the engineers and scientists here in America right? It's not loaded onto the craft and blown into space. It's better for it to go here to the people we know are working in America other than to a big corporation that is sending it overseas so they can sell their crud at a lower price and make more profit for one person.

      Unlike corporations, money spent at NASA goes strait back to the economy of America and helps inspire youth to get better educations. NASA is one of the best places to spend money if you're worried about the economy.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

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