Italy is ready for the mission destined to open a
to observe the most mysterious and violent aspects of the universe, such as those related to the explosion of
. The mission is called
Ixpe (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) and
Italian Space Agency (ASI) is
. "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 time on
from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), with a Falcon 9 rocket.
In the mission, with a total cost of 180 million, ASI participates with 20 million euros; the scientific coordination is of the
National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf)
the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn)
, with INAF and the support of ASI. has conceived and developed the instrument that constitutes the heart of the mission, the Global Pixel Detector (GPD). The
also collaborates on the scientific aspects
. The ASI makes its
base in Malindi available
for receiving data, thanks to the collaboration of
Space Science Data Center (Ssdc)
for data analysis. The
company also collaborates in the mission
"We will have some surprises"
, said the president of INAF, Marco Tavani. "We are
at the beginning of a new page
: we will study some of the most extreme astrophysical objects that exist in the universe - he added - and a new window will open 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 in physics
".On board the mission, he added, there is "one
new entirely 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 are succeeded in this enterprise respecting the schedule times, despite the great difficulties imposed by the health emergency. "The Ixpe mission is part of NASA's
Smex (Small Explorer) program
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.