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IXO is dead, long live ATHENA

16 Apr 2011, 16:08 UTC
IXO is dead, long live ATHENA
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IXO and LISA are dead as joint NASA/ESA missions, thanks to NASA funding woes and JWST's grotesque cost and time overruns. Nevertheless, ESA will go ahead with a smaller (800 million Euro) X-ray Observatory concept with limited NASA participation (the microcalorimeter, I hope?) called ATHENA... a nice naming joke I didn't get at first. A few years ago ESA's XEUS mission concept and NASA's Constellation-X mission concept merged to form the International X-ray Observatory (IXO). Now the Europeans are back alone ATHENA springs forth, as in Greek myth where Athena emerged from Zeus's forehead.News from the IXO website.An update on IXO from Nick White and Jay Bookbinder US IXO Team, This is an update on the discussions with the European Space Agency (ESA) at the recent ESA-NASA bilateral meeting. This was reported by Jon Morse (HQ Astrophysics Division Director), first, to the IXO and LISA teams on Tuesday, and then, at the Astrophysics NASA Advisory Committee (NAC) sub-committee meeting on Thursday afternoon. IXO was one of three candidates competing for the L1 opportunity in ESA´s Cosmic Vision Program (2015-2025). The Astrophysics and Planetary decadal rankings and NASA´s constrained out-year resources projected in the President's FY12 budget request led ESA to ...

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