We have been studying Lynx, an X-ray Observatory with factors of 10 to 1000 greater imaging and spectroscopic capabilities than any other existing or planned facility. We present a Design Reference Mission (DRM) driven by the need to solve fundamental problems in three broad areas of astrophysics. The Lynx Observatory will provide discovery space for all of astrophysics, and also address questions which will only be revealed as our knowledge increases. Studies supported by the Advanced Concepts Office at MSFC for the observatory design and operations take advantage of the highly successful architecture of the Chandra Observatory. A light-weight mirror with 30 times the Chandra effective area, and modern microcalorimeter and CMOS based X-ray imagers will exploit the 0.5 arcsec imaging capability. Operating at Sun/Earth L2, we expect 85% to 90% of the time to be spent acquiring data from celestial targets. Designed for a five year baseline mission, there are no expected impediments to achieving a 20 year goal. This paper presents technical details of the Observatory and highlights of the mission operations.
Lynx, one of the four strategic mission concepts under study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey, provides leaps in capability over previous and planned x-ray missions and provides synergistic observations in the 2030s to a multitude of space- and ground-based observatories across all wavelengths. Lynx provides orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity, on-axis subarcsecond imaging with arcsecond angular resolution over a large field of view, and high-resolution spectroscopy for point-like and extended sources in the 0.2- to 10-keV range. The Lynx architecture enables a broad range of unique and compelling science to be carried out mainly through a General Observer Program. This program is envisioned to include detecting the very first seed black holes, revealing the high-energy drivers of galaxy formation and evolution, and characterizing the mechanisms that govern stellar evolution and stellar ecosystems. The Lynx optics and science instruments are carefully designed to optimize the science capability and, when combined, form an exciting architecture that utilizes relatively mature technologies for a cost that is compatible with the projected NASA Astrophysics budget.
Lynx, one of four strategic mission concepts under study for the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey, will provide leaps in capability over previous and planned X-ray missions, and will provide synergistic observations in the 2030s to a multitude of space- and ground-based observatories across all wavelengths. Lynx will have orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity, on-axis sub-arcsecond imaging with arcsecond angular resolution over a large field of view, and high-resolution spectroscopy for point-like and extended sources. The Lynx architecture enables a broad range of unique and compelling science, to be carried out mainly through a General Observer Program. This Program is envisioned to include detecting the very first supermassive black holes, revealing the high-energy drivers of galaxy and structure formation, characterizing the mechanisms that govern stellar activity - including effects on planet habitability, and exploring the highest redshift galaxy clusters. An overview and status of the Lynx concept are summarized.
Lynx is a concept under study for prioritization in the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Providing orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over Chandra, Lynx will examine the first black holes and their galaxies, map the large-scale structure and galactic halos, and shed new light on the environments of young stars and their planetary systems. In order to meet the Lynx science goals, the telescope consists of a high-angular resolution optical assembly complemented by an instrument suite that may include a High Definition X-ray Imager, X-ray Microcalorimeter and an X-ray Grating Spectrometer. The telescope is integrated onto the spacecraft to form a comprehensive observatory concept. Progress on the formulation of the Lynx telescope and observatory configuration is reported in this paper.