ATHENA, the large-scale X-ray space observatory, sees Italian research institutions in the front line, in particular the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), with over 200 scientists and technologists involved in the programme. An acronym for Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics, it’s the second ESA large-class mission, and it will be the great, next-generation X-ray astrophysics observatory, with expected launch in 2030. It will give Europe the leadership in the industry.

ATHENA will detect the formation and evolution of the most energetic and warmest existing sources, such as plasma contained in the filamentous structure of dark matter shaping the Universe, black holes, gamma-ray bursts and sources of gravitational waves, until the times when the first supermassive stars originated.

To explore the deep Universe through X-rays, ATHENA will be equipped with extremely advanced on-board instruments, combining a large-area telescope with two focal plane instruments. The main instrument is the X-IFU, the first X-ray Integral Field Unit, based on cryogenic microcalorimeters with an extremely advanced energy resolution and a good imaging capability and accompanied by a wide-field WFI (Wide-Field Imager) instrument for sky surveys.

The Italian community has a key role as regards both the scientific part and the instruments of the mission, supported by the Italian Space Agency.

‣ News

FRIDAY 08 OCTOBER 2021

Meeting of the Italian branch of CSES-Limadou satellite mission ‣

CSES-Limadou satellite mission is a collaboration between the Chinese and Italian Space Agencies also involving INFN, INAF, INGV, and CNR research Institutes as well as the Universities of Rome Tor Vergata, Turin and Trento MORE...

SATURDAY 02 OCTOBER 2021

PRISMA and the Eye of the Sahara ‣

The image has been taken by the satellite of the Italian Space Agency on May 10, 2021 MORE...

FRIDAY 01 OCTOBER 2021

DART Gets Its CubeSat Companion, Its Last Major Piece ‣

LICIACube has the important task of watching DART’s final maneuver a deliberate crash into an asteroid and its effects MORE...

FRIDAY 01 OCTOBER 2021

ERMINe annual event on: The changing World ‣

5 - 7 October 2021 MORE...

MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

The Italian Space Agency opened the doors to the “G20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting” ‣

The meeting between the G20 space agencies and the international organizations was opened by the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition with mandate for space affairs, Vittorio Colao, and the ASI president, Giorgio Saccoccia MORE...