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NASA restarts NuSTAR black hole search

Sept. 24, 2007 at 12:31 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the restart of an astronomy project designed to detect black holes in the "local" universe.

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, program is designed to expand the understanding of the origins and destinies of stars and galaxies, said Alan Stern, the associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

NASA halted the NuSTAR project last year because of funding problems.

"We are very excited to be able restart the NuSTAR mission, which we expect to be launched in 2011," said Stern. "NuSTAR has more than 500 times the sensitivity of previous instruments that detect black holes. It's a great opportunity for us to explore an important astronomical frontier."

The NuSTAR spacecraft will bridge a gap between the 2009 launch of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and the 2013 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

"NuSTAR will perform deep observations in hard X-rays to detect black holes of all sizes and other exotic phenomena," said Jon Morse, director of NASA's astrophysics division. "It will perform cutting-edge science using advanced technologies and help to provide a balance between small and large missions in the NASA astrophysics portfolio."

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