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 20 MAY 2020

The Prisma Mission opens to the community ‣

Now that the commissioning phase and the calibration/validation activities have been completed PRISMA is finally ready to open the mission exploitation by the user community. MORE...

THURSDAY 30 APRIL 2020

The Earth’s tides move the continents ‣

Astronomical forces such as solid Earth’s tides play an active role on plate tectonics: this is the results of a research conducted by the Sapienza University of Rome, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). MORE...

THURSDAY 16 APRIL 2020

Cheops is ready for hunting ‣

The scientific operations of the space mission Cheops officially started. The mission, with an important Italian participation, explores the Universe to give us an in-depth look at new worlds MORE...

MONDAY 02 SEPTEMBER 2019

IKUNS NanoSatellite, a virtuous example of the Italo-Kenyan Cooperation in the Space sector ‣

The project was presented on August 24th 2019, during an event dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci MORE...

THURSDAY 22 AUGUST 2019

Parmitano starts Nutriss ‣

Nutriss will be the first scientific activity of ASI in orbit for Luca Parmitano, astronaut of the European Space Agency on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the third of six Italian experiments is ready to take off. MORE...