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Science questions

Panel A: Do we understand the extremes of the universe?

  • How did the Universe begin?
  • What is dark matter and dark energy?
  • Can we observe strong gravity in action?
  • How do supernovae and gamma-ray bursts work?
  • How do black hole accretion, jets and outflows operate?
  • What do we learn about the Universe from energetic radiation and particles?

Panel B: How do galaxies form and evolve?

  • How did the universe emerge from its dark ages?
  • How did the structure of the cosmic web evolve?
  • Where are most of the chemical elements throughout cosmic time?
  • What is the cycling of stars, gas and dust in galaxies?
  • How did the Milky Way form?

Panel C: What is the origin and evolution of stars and planetary systems?

  • How do stars and stellar systems form?
  • Is the initial mass function of stars universal?
  • What do we learn by probing stellar interiors?
  • What is the life-cycle of the interstellar medium and stars?
  • How do planetary systems form and evolve?
  • What are the demographics of planets in the Galaxy? How do we tell which planets harbour life?

Panel D: How do we fit in?

  • How do we study the Sun to explore fundamental astrophysical processes?
  • What drives Solar variability on all scales?
  • What is the impact of Solar Variability on life on Earth?
  • What is the dynamical history of the Solar system?
  • What can we learn from Solar system exploration about its formation and evolution?
  • Where should we look for life in the Solar system?

These questions could be reformulated by the panels, when deemed necessary.

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