Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The GRASP mission Gamma-Ray Astronomy with Spectroscopy and Positioning addresses the scientific goals of fine spectroscopy with imaging and accurate positioning of gamma-ray sources, an unexplored area within gamma-ray astronomy. The assessment of GRASP as a future space astronomy mission in the mid-1990s has led to the design of the instrument outlined in this article. Thus GRASP is a third generation gamma-ray telescope and is designed to operate as a high quality spectral imager in the mid-1990s, when, following the GRO, SIGMA, and GAMMA-1 missions, there will be requirement for a more sophisticated instrument to maintain the momentum of advance in gamma-ray astronomy. The telescope will be capable of locating point sources with a precision of typically 1 arc min, whilst making a fine spectral analysis (E/ΔE ∼ 1000) of any gamma-ray line features. The high sensitivity of this instrument and the long (> 2 year) lifetime of the mission will enable a large number (∼ 1000) of astronomical objects to be studied. The GRASP mission has the potential to move gamma-ray astronomy from an era of basic exploration to one in which detailed and novel measurements can be used to gain a better understanding of many astrophysical problems.
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