University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy


The Orbiting Astrophysical Observatory In Space (OASIS)


by James H. Adams Jr., Rob Adams, Louis Barbier, Abdulnasser F. Barghouty, W. Robert Binns, Mark Christl, Charles B. Cosse, Stephen E. Elrod, Georgia A. de Nolfo, T. Gregory Guzik, Thomas Hams, Joachim Isbert, Martin H. Israel, John F. Krizmanic, Allan W. Labrador, Jason T. Link, Richard A. Mewaldt, John W. Mitchell, Alexander A. Moiseev, Makoto Sasaki, Steven J. Stochaj, Edward C. Stone, Robert E. Streitmatter, C. Jake Waddington, John W. Watts, John P. Wefel, and Mark E. Wiedenbeck

The Orbiting Astrophysical Observatory In Space (OASIS) is an Advanced Concept currently under study at NASA as a mission for the next decade. The goal of the OASIS mission is to identify a local site or sites where galactic cosmic rays (GCR) originate and are accelerated. The mission will also allow GCR data to be used to investigate how elements are made and distributed in the galaxy and to improve our understanding of supernovae and the nucleosynthesis of the heavy elements. OASIS consists of two instruments that provide complementary data on the location and nature of the source(s) through investigating the composition of ultra-heavy nuclei (Z ≥ 30) and the energy spectrum of electrons. In particular OASIS will measure the relative abundances in the actinide group (90 ≤ Z ≤ 96) to determine the age of the r-process material in GCRs. The presence of young r-process material would indicate that GCRs are a sample of the interstellar medium in OB associations. OASIS will measure the electron spectrum to >10 TeV. The energy where this spectrum ends will tell us the distance to the nearest GCR source(s). OASIS will look for spectral features and anisotropy in the high energy electron spectrum that are expected to appear when only a few of the nearest astrophysical sources can contribute to the electron flux. Spectral features may also suggest dark matter decay products. We anticipate that these measurements will lead to the identification of the nearest cosmic ray electron source and provide a crucial test of the OB association model for the origin of GCR nuclei.

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