NASA Picks Potential $188M Mission to Explore Black Holes, Cosmic X-Rays’ Polarization

NASA plans to launch a potential $188 million mission by 2020 to explore and collect information on black holes, pulsars, neutron stars and other cosmic X-rays.

The space agency selected the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer mission out of three mission concepts that were chosen from a set of 14 offers that NASA received after it issued a request for proposals in 2014 through the Astrophysics Explorers Program, NASA said Wednesday.

The IXPE mission will send three telescopes with cameras to space in order to collect measurements on cosmic X-rays’ polarization.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies (NYSE: BLL) will provide the space vehicle and mission integration support, while the Italian Space Agency will offer X-ray detectors for the IXPE mission to be led by Martin Weisskopf, principal investigator at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA’s Explorers Program seeks to provide flight opportunities for space scientific investigations in support of the agency’s heliophysics and astrophysics programs and has carried out at least 90 missions that include the Cosmic Background Explorer and Explorer 1 missions.

The Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland oversees the program for NASA’s science mission directorate.

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