Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) Aboard the OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission
Author(s)Masterson, R. A; Chodas, M.; Bayley, L.; Allen, B.; Hong, J.; Biswas, P.; McMenamin, C.; Stout, K.; Bokhour, E.; Bralower, H.; Carte, D.; Chen, S.; Jones, M.; Kissel, S.; Schmidt, F.; Smith, M.; ... Show more Show less
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Abstract The Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is the student collaboration experiment proposed and built by an MIT-Harvard team, launched aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. REXIS complements the scientific investigations of other OSIRIS-REx instruments by determining the relative abundances of key elements present on the asteroid’s surface by measuring the X-ray fluorescence spectrum (stimulated by the natural solar X-ray flux) over the range of energies 0.5 to 7 keV. REXIS consists of two components: a main imaging spectrometer with a coded aperture mask and a separate solar X-ray monitor to account for the Sun’s variability. In addition to element abundance ratios (relative to Si) pinpointing the asteroid’s most likely meteorite association, REXIS also maps elemental abundance variability across the asteroid’s surface using the asteroid’s rotation as well as the spacecraft’s orbital motion. Image reconstruction at the highest resolution is facilitated by the coded aperture mask. Through this operation, REXIS will be the first application of X-ray coded aperture imaging to planetary surface mapping, making this student-built instrument a pathfinder toward future planetary exploration. To date, 60 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been involved with the REXIS project, with the hands-on experience translating to a dozen Master’s and Ph.D. theses and other student publications.
Space Science Reviews. 2018 Feb 12;214(1):48
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