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

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...

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2020

International Partners Advance Cooperation with First Signings of the Artemis Accords   ‣

 International cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program is taking a step forward today with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and several partner countries MORE...

WEDNESDAY 07 OCTOBER 2020

1st Space Economy Leaders Meeting – Space20 ‣

Italian Space Agency (ASI) to host the 2nd Space Economy Leaders Meeting in 2021

MORE...

MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

MARSIS, SALTY WATER BENEATH MARS’ SOUTH POLE CONFIRMED ‣

Marsis: New discovery of a complex system of hypersaline water ponds under the Martian South polar cap MORE...