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6 Conclusions and Recommendations
Pages 58-62

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From page 58...
... The research activities identified in the concluding sections of Chapters 2 through 5 are the foundation on which TGSAA's overall recommended priorities for space astronomy and astrophysics are based. The priorities recommended in Chapters 2 through 5 (Box 6.1 J encompass highly diverse spatial, temporal, and energy scales, ranging from extrasolar planets to supermassive black holes, from the origin of the universe to its ultimate fate, and from submillimeter radiation emitted by forming stars to ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays of unknown origin.
From page 59...
... Determination of the geometry and content of the universe by measurement of the fine-scale anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation. The establishment of the hot big bang cosmology is, as explained in Chapter 5, one of the great scientific achievements of the twentieth century.
From page 60...
... While the Hubble and Keck telescopes have given observers a glimpse of the most luminous objects at a time a few billions years after the big bang, astronomers currently know very little about ordinary galaxies like the Milky Way at that epoch. Researchers cannot currently obtain spectroscopic information for most of the galaxies shown in the so-called Hubble Deep Field (see Figure 4.1)
From page 61...
... Key issues to be addressed are the formation of black holes over the entire mass range observed; the mechanisms by which accretion onto black holes produces both a prodigious output of energy and jet-like outflows; the number of stellar-mass black holes in galaxies and galactic halos; and possible tests of the laws of physics in the extreme environment close to black holes. Each of the chapters contributed by TGSAA's panels describes a number of priority topics in addition to the four listed above.
From page 62...
... The only direct evidence for dark matter derives, as discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, from astrophysical inference of gravitationally bound objects, such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies, but the evidence is ubiquitous and consistent numbers are measured by several very different techniques. Astronomers still have no idea whether this dark matter takes the form of a collection of compact dead stars or primordial black holes, a hitherto unseen elementary particle, or something even more exotic.

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