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XRISM Mission

XRISM Mission To Study ‘Rainbow’ of X-rays

The XRISM Mission (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission, pronounced “crism”) satellite attempts to separate high-energy light into the equivalent of an X-ray rainbow. This mission is led by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), so it will accomplish this by utilizing the Resolve instrument.

Here we will be discussing how XRISM is exploring some essential mysteries and how it will further assist scientists in space missions and discoveries.

XRISM Space Mission Uncovering Some Energetic Mysteries

On August 25, 2023, XRISM will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center (August 26 in Japan).

Richard Kelley, NASA’s XRISM principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said:

“Resolve will give us a new look into some of the universe’s most energetic objects, including black holes, clusters of galaxies, and the aftermath of stellar explosions, We’ll learn more about how they behave and what they’re made of using the data the mission collects after launch.”

NASA and JAXA collaborated on the Resolve X-ray microcalorimeter spectrometer instrument. It detects minute temperature changes caused by an X-ray hitting its 6-by-6-pixel detector. To estimate the energy of an X-ray, the sensor must be cooled to roughly minus 460 Fahrenheit (minus 270 Celsius), only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.

XRISM Mission img 2
NASA and JAXA team members at Japan’s Tsukuba Space Center calibrated XRISM’s Resolve instrument, imaged here, at just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. They had to perform these measurements before installing the instrument on the spacecraft. The information obtained during calibration describes the subtle characteristics of Resolve’s performance, which is necessary for scientists who will use XRISM to study the universe once it’s in space. Credit: JAXA

Now, you must think about how Resolve utilizes a multistage cooling process and spectroscopy to measure high-resolution X-ray spectra of cosmic sources. So, to answer your thoughts, we have curated some information related to it too.

What is Cutting-Edge Spectroscopy, and How Does XRISM Mission Unveil Some Cosmic Secrets?

After a multistage mechanical cooling process within a refrigerator-sized container containing liquid helium, the device achieves its operational temperature.

Resolve can measure the high-resolution spectra of an object by collecting thousands or even millions of X-rays from a cosmic source. Spectra are measurements of the intensity of light over a wide range of energies. Moreover, the Prisms divide visible light into distinct points, which we are more familiar with than the colors of the rainbow.

Early spectrometers employed prisms to look for spectral lines, which arise when atoms or molecules absorb or emit energy. Astronomers now utilize spectrometers calibrated to all types of light to learn about the physical states, movements, and compositions of cosmic objects.

A Spectroscopy on X-rays Performed by Resolve

Additionally, Resolve will perform spectroscopy on X-rays with energies ranging from 400 to 12,000 electron volts, forming a spectrum by measuring the powers of individual X-rays. (By comparison, the powers of visible light range between 2 and 3 electron volts.)

Following, we will highlight the significance and capabilities of the XRISM Mission, a joint mission of JAXA and NASA with involvement from the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency! So, keep hovering.

How Does XRISM Tell Us About Cosmic Enigmas with Keen Details?

Brian Williams, NASA’s XRISM project scientist at Goddard, said:

“The spectra XRISM collects will be the most detailed we’ve ever seen for some of the phenomena we’ll observe. The mission will provide us with insights into some of the most difficult places to study, like the internal structures of neutron stars and near-light-speed particle jets powered by black holes in active galaxies.”

JAXA developed the mission’s other instrument, dubbed Xtend. It will provide XRISM with one of the most expansive fields of view of any X-ray imaging satellite ever flown, surveying a region around 60% greater than the average apparent size of the full moon. Both Resolve and Xtend rely on two identical Goddard X-ray mirror assemblies.

XRISM Mission img 2
This image shows the detector in the Resolve instrument on XRISM. Credit: NASA/XRISM/Caroline Kilbourne

XRISM is a joint mission of JAXA and NASA, with assistance from the European Space Agency. NASA’s involvement includes Canadian Space Agency science participation.

The next part of the blog is going to answer some of the frequently asked questions. So, if you also want to know, let’s start this roller coaster!

What are the European Contributions in XRISM Mission’s Factsheet?

Europe contributes crucial components to XRISM’s Resolve instrument, including loop heat pipes, star trackers, magnetic torques, and geomagnetic aspect sensors. Moreover, the University of Geneva in Switzerland and SRON in the Netherlands have been responsible for developing the filter wheel mechanism and electronics. Furthermore, it encompasses high-voltage power sources and calibration sources. As a result of these significant contributions, ESA will receive an allocation of up to 8% of the total guest observing time for the mission.

The Main Objectives Mission of XRISM Mission:

XRISM’s mission objectives encompass studying the universe using X-ray light, featuring an unparalleled combination of light-collecting potency and energy resolution. This unique capability allows it to differentiate X-rays based on their energies. The mission’s focal points include revealing insights into galaxy cluster dynamics, investigating the chemical composition of the Universe, and examining the movement of matter surrounding accreting supermassive black holes (Active Galactic Nuclei or AGN), along with a wide range of other scientific topics.

Serving as a Collaborative Effort for JAXA, NASA & ESA

Scheduled for a 2023 launch from Japan, XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) represents a groundbreaking collaborative effort between JAXA, NASA, and ESA. This pioneering mission aims to explore the X-ray sky utilizing state-of-the-art high-resolution spectroscopy and imaging technologies. With its cutting-edge capabilities, XRISM seeks to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos, offering unprecedented insights into the world of X-rays and their celestial sources.

What is the energy range of XRISM?

Resolve is a soft X-ray spectrometer that joins a lightweight soft X-ray telescope with an X-ray calorimeter spectrometer. Additionally, it offers a non-dispersive energy resolution of 5-7 eV in the 0.3-12 keV bandpass and covers a field of view of approximately 3 arcmin’s.

What is the revolving area of the XRISM Mission?

XRISM aims to fulfill this commitment by incorporating a scientifically complementary payload, which includes two identical X-ray mirror assemblies (XMA). Besides this, these X-ray mirror assemblies provide a Half Power Diameter (HPD) Point Spread Function of 1.7 arcmin’s and an effective area of approximately 300 cm2 at 6 keV.

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