- Recently NASA-funded Rocket to View Sun with X-Ray Vision
About FOXSI (Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager) mission
- FOXSI is a sounding rocket mission.
- FOXSI is a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency,
- The sounding rockets make brief 15-minute journeys above Earth’s atmosphere for a peek at space before falling back to the ground.
- Smaller, cheaper and faster to develop than large-scale satellite missions.
- FOXSI will travel 190 miles up, above the shield of Earth’s atmosphere, to stare directly at the Sun and search for nanoflares using its X-ray vision.
- FOXSI is the first instrument built specially to image high-energy X-rays from the Sun by directly focusing them.
- This will be FOXSI’s third flight.
- Its first flight was in 2012, during which it successfully viewed a small solar flare in progress.
- Its second flight was in 2014 when it detected the best evidence at the time of X-ray emission from nanoflares.
- The third mission follows up on this discovery, but this time it includes a new telescope designed for imaging lower-energy, so-called soft X-rays as well.