NASA has the BEST WEEK EVER! Oh, and wins a Nobel Prize…

Sure, shuttle disasters and budget cuts have left a chip on its’ shoulder, but many are arguing that NASA has had, in the words of that timeless Vh1 show, the best week ever! Between the surprisingly successful shuttle launch, the announcement of the agency’s plan to return to the moon, and now a Nobel prize, the AP explains, NASA is having a week better than the one you spent in Cabo with Heidi Klum.

The Nobel, of course, went to John C. Mather whose study of cosmic background radiation works to confirm much of the big bang theory. From the Nobel Committee:

"This year the Physics Prize is awarded for work that looks back into the infancy of the Universe and attempts to gain some understanding of the origin of galaxies and stars. It is based on measurements made with the help of the COBE satellite launched by NASA in 1989.

The COBE results provided increased support for the Big Bang scenario for the origin of the Universe, as this is the only scenario that predicts the kind of cosmic microwave background radiation measured by COBE. These measurements also marked the inception of cosmology as a precise science. It was not long before it was followed up, for instance by the WMAP satellite, which yielded even clearer images of the background radiation. Very soon the European Planck satellite will be launched in order to study the radiation in even greater detail."

Take a look at some of the photos tied to the announcement (rhetorical question: are all nobel prize-winning physicists not photogenic or does the Nobel prize committee actually seek out individuals who look odd in front of the lens?) and Mather’s acceptance speech.