NASA rocket studies dark areas in space

NASA rocket studies dark areas in space

UV-sensitive DEUCE grille mounted on the landing gear

The night sky is filled with stars and objects, but most of the matter is located in the dark voids between them. Cool diffuse intergalactic gas called intergalactic medium.

It's hard to watch him, so the scientists decided to send a rocket with a probe for a 15-minute flight. Start is scheduled for October 30, 2017. On the rocket will install a special UV optics, which can shed light on the mysterious areas. The DEUCE project plans to calculate the starlight from a pair of nearby hot stars in the Big Dog.

Scientists know that the intergalactic medium is represented mainly by hydrogen and has been subjected to high-energy irradiation. Because of this, electrons explode in atoms — ionization. Many people think that the intense UV-light of galaxies with star hospitals is responsible for the universal ionization process. But there are suspicions that there are other reasons. The earth's atmosphere blocks UV rays, so this type of radiation can only be viewed from space. A rocket launch appears to be an inexpensive mission compared to the activation of a new space telescope.

NASA rocket studies dark areas in space

The payload DEUCE is being tested and integrated in the flight center of Virginia

During two flights, the project will see two young bright stars: Beta and Epsilon Canis Major. These objects are close and their luminescence manages to get to Earth before it is absorbed by interstellar gas.

But the mission will face difficulties because there is neutral hydrogen between the stars, effectively absorbing the glow. Therefore, the choice fell on the brightest stars nearby.

DEUCE uses a microchannel plate detector (the largest one launched into space) to measure starlight. Also, the mission will be able to test the device to use it again in December 2018.

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