Take a Journey of Discovery with RXTE - Classroom Activity


Mission #5



Use prior and acquired knowledge to verify the source of the X-ray emission


It is impossible to travel faster than light, but in order to travel 4 kpc in a reasonable amount of time, we will have to borrow from science fiction and travel in "hyperspace". We emphasize that "hyperspace" and "hyperdrives" are not real. Neither can we use the space shuttle to get where we are going. The shuttle is meant only for use in Earth orbit. We will have to invent a new kind of spacecraft for our purposes.


In Stage 1 of your journey to observe the mysterious source you have been researching, you will launch into Earth orbit. From there you will enter Stage 2 by using your hyperdrive to arrive at our source - 4 kiloparsecs from Earth. In Stage 3 of your mission, you will observe the mysterious source and its red companion star, by zooming in closer, and then dropping a drone into the black hole itself. You will observe as the drone falls towards the black hole, writing down your observations. Then you will proceed to Stage 4, where you will watch a video of what the drone experienced. After that you will proceed to Stage 5 to be debriefed. This is when you will discuss your observations, and to learn things about the fascinating and bizarre nature of black holes.


Take out a piece of paper - once you reach the black hole, you will make observations of it. You will also write observations of the drone as you drop it into the black hole. Your class will discuss your observations before proceeding to the debriefing.

Introduction to Stage 1
(this will open in a new window)

Return to "Journey of Discovery" main page