Future Mission Gets Stellar Name
The Next Generation X-ray Observatory called the High Throughput X-ray
Spectroscopy (HTXS) mission has been renamed the Constellation Mission.
Dedicated to observations with high spectral resolution over the energy
range 0.25 - 40 keV, Constellation will provide as much as a factor of 100
increase in sensitivity over currently planned high resolution X-ray
spectroscopy missions. Constellation was selected as a new mission to be
proposed for a FY2004 new start at the Space Science Enterprise Strategic
Planning Workshop held in Breckenridge in May 1997; it can be thought of
as the X-ray equivalent of the Keck Telescope and will
mark the start of a new era in X-ray spectroscopy.
With its increased capabilities, Constellation will address many
fundamental astrophysics questions such as the origin and distribution
of the elements from carbon to zinc; the formation and evolution of
clusters of galaxies; the validity of general relativity in the strong
gravity limit; the evolution of supermassive black holes in active
galactic nuclei; the details of supernova explosions and their
aftermath; and the mechanisms involved in the heating of stellar
coronae and driving of stellar winds.