Cosmic Origins
Searching for answers about our universe and its origins

About Cosmic Origins

How did we get here?

Answering this question is one of the key goals in NASA's Astrophysics Division, and is the main objective of its Cosmic Origins (COR) Program.

Here are some of the topics our work focuses on:

  • Stellar lifecycles and the evolution of the elements
  • Early formation and evolution of planetary systems
  • Archaeology of the Milky Way and its neighbors
  • History and evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes
  • First light and reionization

No one mission or observatory can provide all the answers. The Cosmic Origins Program includes telescopes that together operate across much of the electromagnetic spectrum. From the iconic Hubble Space Telescope’s groundbreaking science to the future discoveries awaiting us with the James Webb Space Telescope and more to come, Cosmic Origin's facilities help us in our search for answers to the biggest questions about our universe and its origins.

Featured Videos

XRISM Exploring the Hidden X-ray Cosmos Watch this video to learn more about XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission), a collaboration between JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and NASA. »  Read More
Expansion Rate: The Hubble Tension In this video, Nobel Laureate Dr. Adam Riess explains this phenomenon known as “Hubble Tension,” and how important this mystery is to our understanding of the universe. »  Read More
Mystery of Galaxy’s Missing Dark Matter Deepens. Finding a galaxy lacking the invisible stuff is an extraordinary claim that challenges conventional wisdom. It would have the potential to upset theories of galaxy formation and evolution. »  Read More

A New Portrait of the Cosmos is Coming. The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as WFIRST, is an upcoming space telescope designed to perform wide-field imaging and spectroscopy of the infrared sky. One of the Roman Space Telescope's objectives will be looking for clues about dark energy — the mysterious force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe. »  Read More
NASA | Swift: A Decade of Game-changing Astrophysics. Nov 20, 2014: Over the past decade, NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer has proven itself to be one of the most versatile astrophysics missions ever flown. It remains the only satellite capable of precisely locating gamma-ray bursts — the universe's most powerful explosions — and monitoring them across a broad range of wavelengths using multiple instruments before they fade from view. »  Read More
TESS Mission's First Earth-size World in Star's Habitable-zone. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. Scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet's potential environments to help inform future observations. »  Read More
NASA Telescopes Discover Record-Breaking Black Hole

Astronomers have discovered the most distant black hole yet seen in X-rays, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) and infrared data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (red, green, blue). The black hole is at an early stage of growth that had never been witnessed before, where its mass is similar to that of its host galaxy. This result may explain how some of the first supermassive black holes in the universe formed. Read more » 

28 November 2023
Call For Nominations to Serve on COPAG EC
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Precursor Science Gaps for NASA Flagship Missions | Deadline Extended December 15, 2023
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COPAG Session at the AAS Winter Meeting
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