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R. A. Remillard, A. Levine, E. Boughan, H. Bradt, E. Morgan, U. Becker (M.I.T.), S. Nenonen (Metorex International Inc.), O. Vilhu (University of Helsinki)
We describe a concept for a NASA SMEX Mission in which X-ray coded-mask cameras are arranged to view nearly 4 pi sr. The mission would utilize Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detectors, developed at CERN, to obtain moderately large detector area, sensitivity in the range of 1.5 to 12 keV, and the capability to locate X-ray sources with one arcmin uncertainty. This instrument would provide high sensitivity and throughput for a wide variety of cosmic explosions, including relativistic mass ejections in microquasars, flares from fast X-ray novae, bursts from SGRs, and the bursts and early afterglow from GRBs. On one day timescales, persistent X-ray sources would be monitored with a factor of 6 improvement over the sensitivity of the RXTE All Sky Monitor. This would provide unprecedented coverage of diverse science topics, such as the period changes in X-ray pulsars and the behavior of jets in BL Lac nuclei. Long-term X-ray power spectra for Active Galactic Nuclei would be measured for several subclasses and evaluated as a technique to constrain the mass of the central black hole.