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The Lunar Occultation Explorer (LOX): Supernovae, Nuclear Astrophysics, and Cosmology

Richard Miller
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Abstract Text: 

We will report on the development of the Lunar Occultation Explorer (LOX), an Explorer-class astrophysics mission based on the Lunar Occultation Technique (LOT). This new astronomical protocol has recently been validated in-situ from lunar orbit, and leverages the Moon as a platform for nuclear astrophysics. The primary science goals of LOX are focused on Type-Ia supernovae, including a census and categorization of their progenitor populations, fundamental characterization and tests of the cosmological standard candle hypothesis, and detailed evaluation of the lifecycle of matter and energy in our Galaxy and beyond. We will present details of the LOX mission design, including primary science drivers, preliminary mission sensitivity estimates, and implementation trades. Our development program is focused on realizing the first high-energy astrophysical investigations using the Moon as a scientific platform in an effort to provide unique, achievable, and cost-effective next-generation capabilities in nuclear astrophysics.

"Jody K. Wilson, Andrew P. Jordan, Colin Joyce, Nathan A. Schwadron, Sonya S. Smith, Timothy J. Stubbs, and John Cooper...
SSERVI Identifier: 

Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."