Dark Energy and Exoplanets Top Nation's Astronomy Agenda

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That nation's astronomers have hashed out where the government should put its space science over the coming years. Two of our favorite topics -- dark energy and the hunt for exoplanets -- got top billing. David Harris reports:

Dark energy and extra-solar planet studies received strong endorsement today in a once-a-decade astronomy and astrophysics prioritization report. The National Research Council recommended that the highest priority large-scale projects for the next decade should be the $1.6-billion Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and the $465-million Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).

The report, titled "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics," provides recommendations to US funding agencies on the most important astronomy and astrophysics program that are currently being proposed while accounting for their risks, readiness, and costs. Two years in the making, it considered input from a large proportion of the US astronomy community.

Read the full story at Wired Science.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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