The telescope is called MagEX, which stands for "Magnetosheath Explorer in X-rays" and is an international collaboration between scientists from the United States, the Czech Republic, and the University of Leicester.
MagEX will study the magnetosheath, the magnetic "shield" that protects the Earth from the solar wind - the high energy particles that continuously flow out from the Sun. Without this shield, life on Earth as we know it could not exist.
MagEX was submitted to NASA for consideration in their Lunar Sortie Science Opportunites (LSSO) programme and has cleared the first selection hurdle; it will now receive NASA funding for a technical feasibility study.
The LSSO program is part of NASA's New Vision for Space Exploration Program announced by President Bush in 2004. The President committed NASA to return men to the Moon for the purpose of scientfic exploration. This new generation of NASA astronauts will set-up scientific experiments on the lunar surface, just like their Apollo colleagues did over four decades before them. MagEX could be one of those experiments.The MagEX telescope will be quite compact, being less than one metre tall.
Looking from the Moon, the Earth's magnetosheath covers an area about 30 degrees across on the sky. The magnetosheath glows as solar wind particles strike gas trapped within the region, however, the glow is not in visible light but in X-rays. Invisible to the human eye, X-rays require specialised instruments to detect them. X-rays are produced by many astrophysical phenomenona such as black holes, quasars, stars and galaxies.
The lead Leicester scientist on MagEX, Dr Steven Sembay, said : "MagEX will be unique in that it will be able to view our Earth's entire magnetosheath for the first time. The magnetosheath is not static, but contracts and expands quite dramatically as the solar wind pressure changes during solar storms. The view from the moon should be quite spectacular"
NASA's manned return to the Moon is still some way-off. It will probably be the end of the next decade at least before an astronaut steps foot on the lunar surface again. Dr Steven Sembay said, "Like all space projects, we are in for the long haul. But every long journey starts with a first step."
The Department of Physics at the University of Leicester has a 40 year history of designing X-ray detectors for space science exploration. These currently include instruments onboard ESA's XMM-Newton observatory, NASA's gamma-ray burst mission, Swift, and in the future, on ESA's BepiColombo mission to explore Mercury.
Ather Mirza | alfa
Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds
17.05.2018 | University of the Basque Country
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology