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XRISM to Launch on Saturday From Japan

XRISM in a nutshell. Credit: ESA

Ibadan, 21 August 2023. – The X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) is ready and will launch on 26 August 2023 to observe the most energetic objects and events in the cosmos. The mission will consequently unveil the evolution of the Universe and the structure of spacetime. XRISM will tentatively launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at 09:34 JST / 01:34 BST / 02:34 CEST.

The mission is a collaboration between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA, with significant participation from ESA. In return for providing hardware and scientific advice, ESA will also receive 8% of XRISM’s available observing time. This will enable European scientists to propose celestial sources to observe X-ray light and make breakthroughs in this area of astronomy. Furthermore, JAXA’s YouTube channel will stream the launch live in Japanese and English.

“X-ray astronomy enables us to study the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. It holds the key to answering important questions in modern astrophysics: how the largest structures in the Universe evolve, how the matter we are ultimately composed of was distributed through the cosmos, and how galaxies are shaped by massive black holes at their centers,” says Matteo Guainazzi, ESA project scientist for XRISM.

The Project Scientist also added that “XRISM will be a valuable bridge between ESA’s other X-ray missions: XMM-Newton, which is still going strong after 24 years in space, and Athena, which is due to launch in the late 2030s.”

In addition, XRISM’s observations of galaxy clusters will provide insight into how the Universe produced and distributed the chemical elements. The hot gas within clusters is a remnant of the birth and death of stars over the history of the Universe.

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