NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory continues to provide an unparalleled means for exploring the high-energy universe. With its half-arcsecond angular resolution, Chandra studies have deepened our understanding of galaxy clusters, active galactic nuclei, galaxies, supernova remnants, neutron stars, black holes, and solar system objects. As we look beyond Chandra, it is clear that comparable or even better angular resolution with greatly increased photon throughput is essential to address ever more demanding science questions—such as the formation and growth of black hole seeds at very high redshifts; the emergence of the first galaxy groups; and details of feedback over a large range of scales from galaxies to galaxy clusters. Recently, we initiated a concept study for such a mission, dubbed X-ray Surveyor. The X-ray Surveyor strawman payload is comprised of a high-resolution mirror assembly and an instrument set, which may include an X-ray microcalorimeter, a high-definition imager, and a dispersive grating spectrometer and its readout. The mirror assembly will consist of highly nested, thin, grazing-incidence mirrors, for which a number of technical approaches are currently under development—including adjustable X-ray optics, differential deposition, and new polishing techniques applied to a variety of substrates. This study benefits from previous studies of large missions carried out over the past two decades and, in most areas, points to mission requirements no more stringent than those of Chandra.
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Jessica A. Gaskin ; Martin C. Weisskopf ; Alexey Vikhlinin ; Harvey D. Tananbaum ; Simon R. Bandler, et al.
The X-ray Surveyor Mission: a concept study
", Proc. SPIE 9601, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XIX, 96010J (August 24, 2015); doi:10.1117/12.2190837; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2190837