NASA rocket carrying solar X-ray scanner set to launch
The Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer, or MaGIXS, mission is about to take flight. The launch window opens at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on July 30.
Led by Dr. Amy Winebarger at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, MaGIXS will fly aboard a sounding rocket, a launch vehicle that lifts scientific instruments above Earth's atmosphere for a few minutes in space before falling back to Earth for recovery.
MaGIXS is a specialized scientific instrument designed to peer at the Sun in X-ray light that is invisible to the human eye. Focusing in on the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, MaGIXS will scan an active region—where solar eruptions such as flares and coronal mass ejection often form—to measure its X-ray emissions in high resolution. The data will help scientists understand how active regions form and become heated to multi-million degree temperatures.