Mains Practice Question


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What is India’s first polarimetry mission X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat)? Discuss its significance.
A Simple Introduction about India's first polarimetry mission

India's first polarimetry mission, the X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), marks a significant milestone in the country's space exploration endeavours. Designed to delve into the intricate dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources, XPoSat stands as a testament to India's growing prowess in space science and technology. With its unique capabilities and cutting-edge payloads, this mission promises to unravel the mysteries of the universe like never before.

It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.
  • XPoSat, positioned in low Earth orbit at approximately 650 km with a low inclination of around 6 degrees, boasts two state-of-the-art scientific payloads: the Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX) and the X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing (XSPECT). Developed by esteemed institutions such as the Raman Research Institute and the UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, these payloads are at the forefront of X-ray polarimetry research.
  • The POLIX instrument, a pioneering creation, operates within the medium X-ray energy band of 8 to 30 kilo electron Volts (keV), making it the world's first instrument of its kind. Meanwhile, the XSPECT payload is geared towards conducting fast timing and high spectroscopic resolution in the soft X-ray energy band ranging from 0.8 to 15 keV. Together, these payloads empower XPoSat to explore a wide range of astronomical phenomena with unprecedented precision and depth.
  • The significance of the XPoSat mission lies in its transformative potential for X-ray astronomy. By enabling X-ray polarisation measurements from bright sources in the medium energy band, XPoSat opens new avenues for scientific inquiry and discovery. From persistent sources like targeted and known astronomical objects to transient sources such as pulsars, active galactic nuclei, and magnetars, XPoSat's observations promise to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
  • X-rays, emitted by various celestial bodies under extreme conditions, can become polarized due to interactions with surrounding materials or intense magnetic fields. Through the analysis of polarised X-rays, XPoSat aims to unravel the secrets of phenomena like black holes, neutron stars, and their surroundings, shedding light on some of the most enigmatic aspects of the universe.
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

With an estimated mission life of five years, XPoSat is poised to make groundbreaking discoveries during its operational tenure. By observing polarised X-rays from a diverse array of celestial sources, this mission will contribute significantly to humanity's quest for knowledge about the cosmos. As XPoSat embarks on its journey of exploration, it reaffirms India's commitment to advancing space science and unlocking the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of humankind.

Other Points to Consider 

Other payloads of the Mission




Previous Year Questions

1. Launched on 25th December, 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has been much in the news since then. What are its unique features which make it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes? What are the key goals of this mission? What potential benefits does it hold for the human race? (2022)

2. India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space mission. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Examine critically. (2017)


05-Apr 2024