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The final frontier.

NASA has released what it called the most vivid snapshot of the infant universe ever taken, capturing such detail that it may be one of the most significant scientific achievements of recent years.

Evidence that answers longstanding questions about the age, composition and evolution of the universe was gathered by scientists using a Nasa satellite orbiting one million miles from Earth.

The image shows the ``afterglow'' of the Big Bang, called the cosmic microwave background, and ``freezes'' the universe at a point when it was only 380,000 years old.

Also, the new portrait pegs the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years old, with a small 1% margin of error.

``We have a map of the earliest light of the universe that is complete, and it is stunning,'' US physicist Lyman Page said.

``The light seen today as the cosmic microwave background has travelled for more than 13 billion years to reach us,'' Nasa said.

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STAR TREK: The picture of the early universe taken by a satellite
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2003
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