The X-ray Lab (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer - IXPE) will be able to study extremely active environments directly around the most massive bodies in the Universe.
NASA will develop a new telescope that faces polarized X-rays caused by black holes, neutron stars and other high-temperature phenomena.
Its launch is scheduled for 2020. IXPE consists of three telescopes equipped with cameras that can detect how the light is polarized or notice a bias in a certain direction.
NASA reports that this information will help scientists answer fundamental questions about the turbulent environment around supermassive black holes, pulsars and neutron stars.
“We are looking forward to future discoveries,” said NASA chief astrophysicist Paul Hertz. “We are not able to get a concrete picture of what is happening near objects. But, studying the polarization of X-rays emanating from the environment, we understand their physics. ” IXPE was one of three projects applying for funding under the Astrophysics Explorers program.
“NASA has determined that IXPE has the best scientific potential and the most realistic development plan,” the agency said in a statement.
The total cost of the mission, including space launch, will cost $ 188 million.
Martin Weisskopf of the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, became the principal investigator. Ball Aerospace in Broomfield (Colorado) will build a spacecraft, and the Italian comic agency will contribute by creating polarization-sensitive X-ray detectors.