Polish accents in the proposals for new NASA scientific missions

Arcus i Gamow Explorer These are two proposals for space missions prepared by NASA teams, in which Polish participation was recognized. In the announcement of December 10 this year. The Polish Space Agency indicates that it has negotiated the participation of Polish scientists in these endeavors. The indigenous involvement in the proposed new MIDEX missions is to include the development and delivery of scientific instrument components. The Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences, operating in cooperation with the Polish industry, was indicated as the central cooperator and contractor of Polish devices.

Declared purpose of the mission Arcus there are X-ray observations of the Universe, which arise during the most energetic events in space. Thanks to the use of permeable diffraction grids, specially adapted to the study of the X-ray spectrum, the observatory is to provide high-resolution data from observations of hot gas collected in galaxies, their clusters and in the vicinity of black holes.

Mission Arcus is to enable Polish scientists to participate in innovative research on the decomposition and evolution of hot matter and its chemical composition. The coordinator of the scientific participation of Poland is prof. dr hab. Agata Różańska from the Astronomical Center for them. Nicolaus Copernicus (CAMK PAN).

We managed to integrate the Polish space sector and jointly prepare an offer for NASA, which was accepted. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but the research results of each of these missions could lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the deep space.

Mission Gamow Explorer in turn, it is a project designed to provide a unique view of the most distant gamma-ray bursts, from the so-called epoch of reionization, making it possible to study the formation processes of the first stars and galaxies in the early universe. Scientists from six Polish universities and research institutes were involved in the work of the Gamow Explorer team. The initiative to include Poland in the Gamow Explorer mission came from prof. Krzysztof Górski from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw. The coordinators of the scientific participation of Poland are prof. Włodzimierz Kluźniak and dr hab. Krzysztof Nalewajko from the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The NASA Explorers program has been in operation since the early 1990s, providing several classes of flight capability for the achievement of astrophysics science goals. Mentioned Mission classes are segregated based on cost caps and are designed to increase flight options in response to recommendations from the research community. Medium Explorer (MIDEX) missions have roughly twice the cost cap of Small Explorer (SMEX) missions.

The Explorers program office is located at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and provides parallel management of multiple scientific exploration missions in the program. The missions have a relatively moderate cost and focus on small and medium-sized expeditions that can be built, tested and launched in a short time compared to large observatories. NASA provides access to the means of Extraction under the Explorers Program, in the form of several commercial carrying systems available on the market (including ULA and SpaceX).

So far, the implementation program covers such missions as SWIFT, TESS and WiSE (all in the MIDEX segment) and the currently implemented international Euclid or XRISM.

The results of the first phase of the current project call for proposals are to be known in the second half of 2022.