NASA chose the finalists among the small astrophysical projects

The U.S. space Agency has named two
finalists in the categories of small astrophysical programs SMEX and MO in the framework of the programme
the study of the cosmos Explorer.
Team these tools will receive funding to complete development, and
the final decision on the launch will be made next year, saidon
the Agency’s website.

The program “Explorer” (Explorer) was launched by the U.S. in 1958 to provide opportunities
start relatively small spacecraft designed for exploration
in fundamental physics, Geophysics, and astrophysics geleophysic. Starting
with the mission “Explorer 6”, launched in 1959, the program is administered by NASA.
During the program existence in space was displayed about a hundred
devices, including the first x-ray satellite “Uhuru” for the first time
who have measured the anisotropy of the CMB COBE — the results of the work both were awarded the Nobel
award.

At the moment the program “Explorer” is divided into four
price category: medium vehicles (Medium-Class Explorers,
MIDEX), small devices (Small Explorers, SMEX), University systems (University-Class Explorers, UNEX) and Mission capability (Missions of Opportunity, MO). Every few years
each category is a competition in the first steps of which several
the projects receive limited funding for improvement. On launch, as
a rule, allocated money for only one.

NASA has named the four projects that passed the next stage of the selection — two in the categories of SMEX and MO.
They were machines of ESCAPE and COSI in the category SMEX with a maximum budget in addition to the cost of launching in 145 million
USD and in category MO
with a maximum budget of $ 75 million — The Gravitational-wave
Counterpart Ultraviolet Imager and LEAP.

  • ESCAPE
    (The Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution, “Characterization of stars in the extreme ultraviolet for atmospheric physics and
    evolution”) is a project of the space telescope extreme ultraviolet
    range. He will explore the strong flash at close stars and their influence on
    the atmosphere of exoplanets. In particular, it should help to determine whether such
    events lead to a complete loss of stone planet gas envelope, which should
    affect potential habitability.
  • COSI
    (The Compton Spectrometer
    and Imager, “the Compton spectrometer and image Builder”) is a telescope soft
    gamma-band, which is scheduled to launch to the stratosphere. It will allow
    to build a high-energy map of the milky Way, which will be visible decays
    radioactive elements in young supernova remnants. Also he will be able
    to fix the polarization of gamma radiation, which contains additional
    information about the properties of the radiating body and lying between it and the Earth environment.
  • The Gravitational-wave Counterpart Ultraviolet Imager (“Builder UV
    images of sources of gravitational waves”) is a pair of small satellites,
    which independently observe the sky in different bands of the ultraviolet range. Main
    the objective of the mission is the search for associated gravitational waves
    electromagnetic radiation — it is expected in the case of a merger of neutron stars
    or in the absorption of a neutron star and a black hole. In addition, the apparatus also
    will be able to map the ultraviolet sky.
  • LEAP (A LargE Area burst Polarimeter, “Polarimeter bursts with a large area”) is an instrument for recording gamma radiation
    and its polarization, with a focus on the study produced in various astrophysical
    processes of jets — emissions of substance at relativistic speeds. It is planned
    to place aboard the ISS. It will allow to understand the structure of these sources, and
    the mechanisms of generation of radiation in them. LEAP also adds to the x-ray
    polarimeter IXPE, which will go to the International space station in 2021
    year.

The first two projects will receive two million dollars for completion over the next nine months and the second five hundred thousand. The final decision on the winner will be made in 2021, and the pre-launch time no later than may 2025.

Previously, NASA has successfully passed the protection of preliminary design of a space telescope WFIRST, as well as the Agency approved the project of interplanetary mission Europa Clipper.

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