Italy ready for the Ixpe mission, a new window on the universe – Space & Astronomy

Italy is ready for the mission destined to open one new window to observe the most mysterious and violent aspects of the universe, such as those related to the explosion of supernovae or ai black holes. The mission is called Ixpe (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) e L’Italian Space Agency (ASI) participates in it alongside the NASA. “It is a mission that pushes our ability to do science to the extreme and to which Italy contributes with world-leading technologies”, said today the president of ASI, Giorgio Saccoccia, in the meeting organized in view of the launch, scheduled at 7.00 Italian del December 9 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), with a Falcon 9 rocket.

The ASI participates in the mission, with a total cost of 180 million euros, with 20 million euros; the scientific coordination is ofNational Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) el” National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn), with the INAF and the support of the ASI. has conceived and developed the instrument that constitutes the heart of the mission, the Global Pixel Detector (GPD). The scientific aspects also collaborate withUniversity of Rome Three . The ASI makes its available base of Malindi for receiving data, thanks to the collaboration of Telespazio (Leonardo-Thales), and it Space Science Data Center (Ssdc) for data analysis. The company also collaborates in the mission Ohb-Italy.

“We will have surprises”, said the president of INAF, Marco Tavani. “We are allstart of a new page: we will go to study some of the most extreme astrophysical objects that exist in the universe – he added – and this will open a new window in the study of cosmic sources such as neutron stars and black holes “.

Also for the Infn president, Antonio Zoccoli, “thanks to Ixpe, the first mission entirely dedicated to the study of the universe through the polarization of X-rays, we are ready to write a new chapter of physics“On board the mission, he added, there is” one new all-Italian technology, from the conception of the detectors to their realization “, which is” the result of many years of research and development conducted in our laboratories and in collaboration with the national industry “.

Great satisfaction, he said again, “because we have succeeded in this undertaking respecting the schedule, despite the great difficulties imposed by the health emergency”. The Ixpe mission is part of the program Smex (Small Explorer) of NASA.

The detectors for the polarization of X-rays that are on board were funded by the ASI and developed by a group of researchers from INAF and INFN. Compared to similar technologies of 50 years ago, the sensitivity has increased by about a hundred times. “It is Italy that provides the mission’s most innovative technology”, remarked Barbara Negri, head of Human Flight and ASI scientific instrumentation.

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