Europe’s major X-ray space telescope may get scaled back

The European Space Agency (ESA) is considering ways to redesign a major X-ray space telescope after a number of ESA member states have backed out of the project.

Athena, or Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics, was selected by ESA in 2014 and is intended to launch to Sun-Earth Lagrangian point 2, a spot about 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth on the planet’s night side. There, it would study supermassive black holes, formation of galaxy groups, supernovas and other cosmic phenomena by observing X-ray emissions.

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