Also found in: Wikipedia.
XEUSThe X-ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy Mission, an advanced form of X-ray space observatory that the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch after 2010. The current probable launch date is Jan. 2014. The proposed mission is a long-lived observatory using cutting-edge X-ray spectroscopy technology to investigate the very hot young Universe, looking back to a time when stars and galaxies were developing through the gravitational collapse of gas and dust clouds. XEUS will also investigate the X-rays coming from material falling into black holes and associated with neutron stars and supernova remnants. Among its stated goals will be a better understanding of the largest collapsed objects in the Universe, clusters of galaxies, and how their properties can be used to probe dark matter and dark energy, greater knowledge of the earliest massive black holes and their connection with the formation of galaxies, an investigation of the nature of gravity, space, and time around such massive black holes, and a clearer picture of matter under extreme conditions and the structure of highly collapsed stars. Proposed as a follow-on mission to ESA's successful XMM-Newton Observatory, XEUS is expected to be using cryogenically cooled X-ray detectors that will have 200 times the sensitivity of its predecessor. By using telescope barrels made of silicon instead of nickel, XEUS will be able to carry larger but lighter optics. Its X-ray detectors and spectrometers will deliver resolutions of unparalleled sensitivity. It will also be isolated from most extraneous background interference by being placed far out in interplanetary space, in a stable orbit around L2, one of the Lagrangian points of the Sun–Earth system.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006