Washington, June 28 : An instrument to study the matter in extreme environments of the universe has been given the "green light" from NASA Headquarters, Washington.
Known as the High-Resolution Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (SXS), this instrument was one of the two science proposals recently selected by NASA for the Explorer Program Mission of Opportunity investigations, and is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The SXS was selected from among 17 proposals received by NASA earlier this year.
To be developed at Goddard, the SXS will be installed on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's New exploration X-Ray Telescope, or NeXT.
The observatory, currently planned for launch in 2013, will open a new observing window on X-rays and the study of astrophysical phenomena.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create a powerful new x-ray spectrometer that will open up a whole new realm in high energy astrophysics in collaboration with our partners in Japan," said Richard L. Kelley, the Principal Investigator for the SXS mission at Goddard.
The SXS will probe matter in extreme environments; investigate the nature of dark matter on large scales in the universe; and explore how galaxies and clusters of galaxies form and evolve.