These NASA missions will explain the lifecycle of stars

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spinonews lifecycle of stars

Lifecycle of stars

NASA plans to launch new missions to examine the lifecycle of stars. These NASA missions will study the birth of stars and how they die in the Milky Way.

The Water Recovery X-ray rocket (WRX) will launch on April 4, 2018, and the Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS 4) on April 13. The both missions will launch on NASA Black Brant IX sounding rockets.

From the launching location, the WRX mission focuses around the Vela supernova remnant and measures soft X-rays. The Vela supernova remnant created when a star, more prominent than 10 times the mass of the Sun, collapsed and then exploded as a supernova.

Supernova remnants

Supernova remnants are good to study due to their proximity, which makes them large, bright targets on the sky, said, Randy McEntaffer, principal investigator of the WRX. WRX measurements will allow scientists to derive information about the atmospheric conditions in the Vela supernova remnant.

The WRX is the first sounding rocket mission to use a newly developed NASA water recovery system for astronomical payloads. However, most NASA astronomical suborbital rocket missions allow for land recovery of the highly valued payload. While, both WRX and CHESS 4 instruments have already flown from White Sands.

Star Gamma Ara powerful stellar wind

The CHESS-4 mission will study the matter between stars. The mission focuses on translucent clouds of gas, that provide the principal building blocks of stars and planets. CHESS will point at the star Gamma Ara, in the group of stars Ara. While, the Gamma Ara shows an unusually powerful stellar wind.

CHESS-4 will also examine the interaction of stellar wind with the surrounding interstellar medium to study about the excitation of atoms and molecules in the interface region.

This iteration of CHESS also features a refreshed instrument, a re-tuned spectrograph, which gives roughly four to five times higher spectral resolution than previous quality. The higher spectral resolution is perfect for observing the excited molecules against the background signal created by the interstellar medium.