24 August 2017

Participation in the X-Ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM)

By Daniel Evans

NASA Headquarters

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are pleased to announce to the international community plans for scientific participation in the X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM). The mission, which is expected to launch in early 2021 (within Japanese FY 2020), will bring spectacular advances in our understanding of the high-energy universe. These advances, however, are only possible with the full participation and engagement of the worldwide scientific community. Accordingly, the two agencies announce their plans for enabling community participation in XARM.

XARM Participating Scientists: JAXA and NASA will each openly solicit community input in order to appoint a small number of Participating Scientists to the XARM Science Team. The Science Team consists of the researchers who directly contribute to many different areas of the project, including hardware development, operations, and science planning and optimization. Participating Scientists will bring their expertise to the XARM Science Team and will play a major role in the pre-launch science planning of the mission. Their activities include advising the XARM project on issues related to mission science goals and performance, together with updating the Hitomi target list of essential observations to be carried out during the first six to nine months of XARM operations (named the Performance Verification phase of the mission). As members of the XARM Science Team, Participating Scientists will have full access to PV phase data.

Performance Verification (PV) Phase Target Team Participation: JAXA and NASA have agreed to enable broad scientific participation in the early operation of XARM. Accordingly, the two agencies will issue Announcements of Opportunity approximately one year before launch with the intent of selecting additional community members to participate in the analysis of targets observed in the PV phase of the mission that are led by the XARM Science Team. Each PV Target Team member will become a member of an object-specific team, and will receive access to the PV data for that object.

XARM Guest Observer Program: Following the conclusion of the PV phase of the mission approximately six to nine months after launch, XARM observing time will be dedicated to Guest Observations allocated through an Announcement of Opportunity process. Some fraction of observing time may also be reserved for the completion of PV observations and for key projects.

JAXA and NASA look forward to partnering with the scientific community on XARM. For program-specific questions, please contact Dr. Toru Yamada (yamada@ir.isas.jaxa.jp) or Dr. Daniel Evans (daniel.a.evans@nasa.gov).

Dr. Saku Tsuneta
Director General, ISAS
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Dr. Paul Hertz
Director, Astrophysics Division
NASA Headquarters