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

WEDNESDAY 31 MARCH 2021

THE UNDERSECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL, BRUNO TABACCI, VISITS THE ASI ‣

After receiving the mandate for space activities by the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, on March 19th, 2021, the honorable Bruno Tabacci visited the Italian Space Agency premises MORE...

WEDNESDAY 31 MARCH 2021

THE LAUNCH OF MORE-ASI, A NEW INITIATIVE FOR THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY ‣

A cycle of monthly virtual meetings on space sciences MORE...

WEDNESDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2021

COSMO-SkyMed data capture the reawakening of Hawaiʻi’s Kīlauea Volcano ‣

Results from Hawaii Supersite, a CEOS WG Disasters supported initiative MORE...

THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER 2020

Josef Aschbacher is the new ESA Director General ‣

The ESA Council appointed Dr Josef Aschbacher as the next Director General of ESA MORE...

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER 2020

ASI and JAXA sign the Memorandum of Cooperation ‣

The Space Agencies to cooperate in space activities for peaceful purposes MORE...