Unravelling the Big Bang with Planck

Unravelling the Big Bang with the Planck Satellite

by George Efstathiou

Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge

The Planck satellite (pictured to the right) was launched successfully by an Ariane 5 rocket at lunchtime on the 14th May.  The first proposals for the Planck satellite were submitted to the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1993.  It has taken sixteen years of hard work by many engineers and scientists to go from those initial proposals to a tested satellite ready for launch.  I could write a book about the ups and downs (and there have been many of them) during the last sixteen years.  But in this article, I want to focus on the main science goals of Planck.  Why have so many people dedicated so much time to Planck, and why have so many countries in Europe, Canada and the USA provided the cash to build the satellite?


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