NASA Taps the Power of Zombie Stars in Two-In-One Instrument
Apr. 8, 2013 — Neutron stars have been called the zombies of the cosmos. They shine even though they're technically dead, occasionally feeding on neighboring stars if they venture too close. Interestingly, these unusual objects, born when a massive star extinguishes its fuel and collapses under its own gravity, also may help future space travelers navigate to Mars and other distant destinations.
The multi-purpose mission, also known as NICER/SEXTANT (Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology), consists of 56 X-ray telescopes in a compact bundle, their associated silicon detectors, and a number of other advanced technologies. Both NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Explorers Program and the Space Technology Mission Directorate's Game Changing Program are contributing to the mission's development.
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Sources: NASA, ScienceDaily.com .
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