the Universe's First Moments

This graphic shows the universe as it evolved from the big bang to now. Goddard scientists believe that the universe expanded from subatomic scales to the astronomical in a fraction of a second after its birth. They now building, along with their university partner, an instrument that searches for clues that the inflation did, in fact, occur.

Sophisticated new technologies created by NASA and university scientists are enabling them to build an instrument designed to probe the first moments of the universe's existence.

Former NASA scientist Chuck Bennett, now an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, Md., won a $5-million National Science Foundation grant to build a new ground-based instrument, the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS). Bennett is building CLASS with his collaborators at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Goddard will provide most of the instrument’s sophisticated detectors and other state-of-the-art technologies that will allow the scientists to test the "inflation theory" of the universe's origin.