Whether any of these observatories will reveal the truth about dark energy remains to be seen. Meanwhile, astrophysicists can only bemoan the predicament of being in the worst scientific fix since the quantum mechanics revolution of the 1920s.
“Dark energy is perhaps the biggest mystery in physics,” says Chandra X-ray project leader Steve Allen at the NASA dark energy briefing.
“We don’t understand our cosmic destiny,” Michael Turner says. “This generation won’t solve the problem; the next generation will.”
For the time being, anyway, the world’s top astrophysicists appear to be in over their heads.
“We’re in a situation where we’re going to need a new idea,” says Robert Kirshner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts. “We’re in trouble. It might be our ideas are not wild enough.” As if!