Scientists are hoping a new "sounding rocket" to launch in a few days will help us unlock the secrets of the intergalactic medium.
It’s extremely difficult to study the cold gas that fills the massive dark void between stars and planets in our universe, but NASA is about to launch a “sounding rocket” for a 15-minute flight on Oct. 30. This rocket will have ultraviolet optics that could help us understand the intergalactic medium (IGM), and help unravel some of the mysteries of the universe.
It’s called the Dual-channel Extreme Ultraviolet Continuum Experiement (DEUCE), and it will measure starlight from a pair of nearby stars in the constellation Canis Major. This study will help scientists better understand how the IGM got to be how it is today.
Specifically, DEUCE will unlock some of the secrets of how star-forming galaxies “ionized” the early universe, as we’ve never measured it accurately in hot stars. DEUCE will make the very first calibrated measurement of it.
“What goes up must come down. But during the 30 minutes NASA’s sounding rockets are airborne researchers have more than enough time to collect important scientific data and conduct engineering tests,” NASA said in a description on its site. “Sounding rocket motor parts Sounding rockets take their name from the nautical term “to sound,” which means to take measurements. Since 1959, NASA-sponsored space and earth science research has used sounding rockets to test instruments used on satellites and spacecraft and to provide information about the Sun, stars, galaxies and Earth’s atmosphere and radiation.”