LISA and JDEM
Supernova SN 2006dr in galaxy NGC 1288 photographed by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). On the night of July 17, 'amateur' astronomer Berto Monard discovered this Type Ia supernova from South Africa. NGC 1288 is 200 million light-years away. The supernova is the bright spot to the left of the galactic centre. Observations of distant Type Ia supernovae have led to the inferrence that the Universe is accelerating relative to the speed of light. ESO Press Release
The committee of the National Research Council has selected two Beyond Einstein missions to take advantage of a funding wedge beginning FY 009. Of the Einstein Great Observatories, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna was selected over Constellation-X. Of the smaller Einstein Probes, a Joint Dark Energy Mission is seen to have the highest priority.
The committee concluded that NASA alone can not provide funding for these missions. Key to the decision was the expected involvement of other agencies, DOE for JDEM and ESA for LISA. NASA's next priority is to select one of the candidate JDEM missions for further funding. There will be continuing funding challenges in the era of the Moon, Mars and Beyond. Solving the 'dark energy' problem is seen to be the most profound mystery in science.