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NASA Scientist Discusses New X-ray Mission at U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017

Location: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL, US,

Martin C. Weisskopf, principal investigator for a new NASA mission to unlock hidden details of some of the most enigmatic structures in our universe, will speak in the "Pass the Torch" lecture series on Thursday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Weisskopf will discuss the recently announced Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission that will measure the polarization of X-rays emitted from the superheated gases surrounding black holes, neutron stars, pulsars and other astronomical sources. The capability to perform image-resolved polarimetry on extended objects is a first for NASA. X-ray polarization measurements will help astronomers answer fundamental questions about these turbulent environments, where gravitational, electric and magnetic fields are at their limits.

Weisskopf will be available to media for comments and interviews immediately following his public talk in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration's National Geographic Theater. Admission is free and the "Pass the Torch" program lasts for one hour.

Media interested in covering the event may contact Molly Porter at or 256-544-0034.

IXPE is a Small Explorer mission led by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Explorer Program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Ball Aerospace in Broomfield, Colorado, will provide the spacecraft and mission integration. Ball Aerospace will also operate the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Italian Space Agency will contribute the use of its equatorial ground station located at Malindi, Kenya, and IXPE’s polarization sensitive X-ray detectors, which were developed in Italy.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is home to Space Camp, Aviation Challenge and Space Camp Robotics, the Apollo 16 capsule, the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket and world-class traveling exhibits. USSRC is the Official Visitor Center for the Marshall Center and a showcase for national defense technologies developed at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal.

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

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