Over the past 16 years, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided an unparalleled means for exploring the universe with its half-arcsecond angular resolution. Chandra studies have deepened our understanding of galaxy clusters, active galactic nuclei, galaxies, supernova remnants, planets, and solar system objects addressing almost all areas of current interest in astronomy and astrophysics. As we look beyond Chandra, it is clear that comparable or even better angular resolution with greatly increased photon throughput is essential to address even more demanding science questions, such as the formation and subsequent growth of black hole seeds at very high redshift; the emergence of the first galaxy groups; and details of feedback over a large range of scales from galaxies to galaxy clusters. Recently, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, together with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, has initiated a concept study for such a mission named the X-ray Surveyor. This study starts with a baseline payload consisting of a high resolution X-ray telescope and an instrument set which may include an X-ray calorimeter, a wide-field imager and a dispersive grating spectrometer and readout. The telescope would consist of highly nested thin shells, for which a number of technical approaches are currently under development, including adjustable X-ray optics, differential deposition, and modern polishing techniques applied to a variety of substrates. In many areas, the mission requirements would be no more stringent than those of Chandra, and the study takes advantage of similar studies for other large area missions carried out over the past two decades. Initial assessments indicate that such an X-ray mission is scientifically compelling, technically feasible, and worthy of a high rioritization by the next American National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
EUV and X-ray Optics: Synergy between Laboratory and Space IV
- Pub Date:
- May 2015
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 6 pages, 6 figures, paper 9510-01 presented at SPIE Europe, Prague, April 2015