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SAMURAI Overview

SAMURAI (Science of AGNs and Masers with Unprecedented Resolution in Astronomical Imaging) is a collaboration for US participation in the Japanese-led VSOP-2 Space VLBI mission, centered around the ASTRO-G spacecraft to be launched in 2013. SAMURAI focuses primarily on two aspects of AGN studies: (1) Origin of jets and gamma-ray emission in the most extreme blazars; and (2) Determination of Hubble's Constant and direct measurement of central black-hole masses in water megamaser galaxies. SAMURAI is a high-science/low-cost enhancement of the VSOP-2 mission. It will accomplish its scientific goals by providing critical mission elements that would not otherwise be available:

  • Provision of 1 or 2 science telemetry (tracking) stations for transmission of a maser-quality clock to the ASTRO-G spacecraft, and downlink of wideband science data
  • Operations support of the Very Long Baseline Array to provide the ground-space interferometer and data correlation for the required AGN imaging and astrometry
  • Precision orbit determination using GPS techniques
  • Participation of the US science team in the VSOP-2 mission

SAMURAI includes no flight hardware and imposes no new requirements on the Japanese ASTRO-G spacecraft. A proposal for SAMURAI was submitted as a Mission of Opportunity to NASA in early 2008. It was ranked as a Category I proposal (recommended for funding), with 11 major strengths and no major weaknesses identified by the science and technical/programmatic review teams. Unfortunately, the SAMURAI proposal was not selected, so the SAMURAI team is seeking other funding opportunities to pursue the relevant science.

Last modified on Monday, 23-Mar-2009 21:24:10 MDT

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