Morehead State University

Poster Title

The Cosmic X-Ray Background NanoSat (CXBN): An Improved Measurement of the Diffuse X-Ray Background

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

The goal of this mission is to significantly increase the precision of measurements of the Cosmic X-Ray Background in the 30-50 keV range, thereby constraining models that attempt to explain the relative contribution of proposed sources lending insight into the underlying physics of the early universe. The mission addresses a fundamental science question that is clearly central to our understanding of the structure, origin, and evolution of the universe by potentially lending insight into both the high energy background radiation and into the evolution of primordial galaxies. CXBN will map the Extragalactic Diffuse X-Ray Background (DXB) with a new breed of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector. The DXB is a powerful tool for understanding the early universe and provides a window to the most energetic objects in the distant universe. Although studied previously, existing measurements disagree by about 20%. With the novel CZT detector aboard the CXBN, a new, high precision measurement is possible. In ~1 year of operation the experiment will have collected 3 million seconds of good data, reaching a broadband S/N ~250. The science mission requirements fortunately allow for the design of a relatively simple spacecraft, making this mission ideal for the CubeSat form factor. Additionally, because of their low cost and short development time, cubesats represent an ideal learning opportunity for students, particularly at the undergraduate level. The CXBN mission has been awarded a flight opportunity by the NASA Educational Launch of a Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program and is scheduled for launch in July 2012. The satellite is currently under development, and is primarily constructed and tested by undergraduate students who also participate intimately in the design of its systems.

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The Cosmic X-Ray Background NanoSat (CXBN): An Improved Measurement of the Diffuse X-Ray Background

The goal of this mission is to significantly increase the precision of measurements of the Cosmic X-Ray Background in the 30-50 keV range, thereby constraining models that attempt to explain the relative contribution of proposed sources lending insight into the underlying physics of the early universe. The mission addresses a fundamental science question that is clearly central to our understanding of the structure, origin, and evolution of the universe by potentially lending insight into both the high energy background radiation and into the evolution of primordial galaxies. CXBN will map the Extragalactic Diffuse X-Ray Background (DXB) with a new breed of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector. The DXB is a powerful tool for understanding the early universe and provides a window to the most energetic objects in the distant universe. Although studied previously, existing measurements disagree by about 20%. With the novel CZT detector aboard the CXBN, a new, high precision measurement is possible. In ~1 year of operation the experiment will have collected 3 million seconds of good data, reaching a broadband S/N ~250. The science mission requirements fortunately allow for the design of a relatively simple spacecraft, making this mission ideal for the CubeSat form factor. Additionally, because of their low cost and short development time, cubesats represent an ideal learning opportunity for students, particularly at the undergraduate level. The CXBN mission has been awarded a flight opportunity by the NASA Educational Launch of a Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program and is scheduled for launch in July 2012. The satellite is currently under development, and is primarily constructed and tested by undergraduate students who also participate intimately in the design of its systems.