AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 126. SNAP
Special, Thursday, January 9, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 608-609

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[126.02] The SNAP Primary Science Mission

S. Perlmutter (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), SNAP Collaboration

The SuperNova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP) is a satellite mission designed to address fundamental questions concerning the cosmological model of our universe and the nature of its constituents. SNAP is targeted at a level of systematic uncertainties that will make it possible to begin to discriminate between theories of the ``dark energy'' that apparently is accelerating the expansion of the universe. We discuss the complementary measurement approaches used by the primary science program, including Type Ia supernovae as ``calibrated standard candles" and gravitational weak lensing. SNAP's 15 square degree supernova survey can obtain high signal-to-noise calibrated light-curves and spectra for over 2000 Type Ia supernovae at redshifts up to 1.7. A larger 300 square degree survey is planned to facilitate the gravitational weak lensing studies. The resulting datasets can not only determine the amount of dark energy with high precision, but test the nature of the dark energy by examining its equation of state. In particular, dark energy due to a cosmological constant can be differentiated from alternatives by measuring the time dependence of the equation of state.

This work is supported by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Science, under contract DE-AC03-76SF00098.

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