years have taught us that.
In addition to AXAF and GRO, there are several less ambitious missions now approved or under study. The only approved moderate mission is the X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE). We have identified two further moderate missions that address science of the highest priority, both of which should be started and launched in this decade. Also approved are a variety of much smaller opportunities on foreign missions. These are of great importance to US investigators, and provide a particularly cost-effective way of doing science. Such collaborations must be encouraged and expanded during the 1990s. Several other American payloads now under study include exciting prototypes of a new class of small, inexpensive mission. We have identified a surprisingly large number of important problems in high energy astrophysics which can be addressed by such small missions in the coming decade.
A complete program also requires development of the technology and infrastructure to pave the way for the new discoveries of the 21st century. Therefore, we discuss a program of technology and instrumentation development to prepare for the next generation of X-ray and γ-ray astronomy missions. Lastly, we discuss certain programmatic issues and stress the need for continued support of the research base of the discipline through funding of theory, research, and analysis programs.
In summary, our vision of a vigorous program for high energy astrophysics in the next decade includes
Launch and extended flight operations of AXAF and GRO, and wide community involvement in their observing programs
At least two new Explorer-class missions in addition to XTE, to address particularly exciting opportunities in X-and γ-ray astronomy
Exploitation of smaller, less expensive space missions for important specialized problems
An ambitious program of technology development in optics, detectors, and related hardware
Changes in selected programmatic approaches that affect the research base in our field
This program can in the coming decade challenge scientific issues as diverse as stellar chromospheres, relativistic stars, the intergalactic medium, dark matter, the energetics of active galactic nuclei, and the large scale structure of the Universe. Observations of high energy phenomena from space will be fundamental to the astrophysics of the 1990s.
One of the most important discoveries by the Einstein Observatory was that normal stars of nearly all spectral types are unexpectedly strong X-ray emitters. The mechanisms that produce these X-rays are poorly understood and indicate fundamental problems in present theories of stellar evolution, the interiors and atmospheres of stars, and the mechanisms of coronal heating. The observations required to solve these problems are unique to high energy astrophysics. Future X-ray missions will provide valuable classification data, and spectroscopy will bring the power of plasma diagnostics that has been so fruitful in solar studies. Further observations that combine high sensitivity with spectroscopy and broad field imaging are necessary to provide sufficient X-ray data to correlate observables with stellar properties such as spectral type, rotation rates, optical luminosity, age and multiplicity, and to monitor variability and study activity cycles.
As the repository of material from which stars form and to which they return nucleosynthetically-enriched material at the end of their lives, the interstellar medium (ISM) plays a dominant role in governing the evolution of galaxies. Over the past 15 years we have come to recognize the ISM as a violent,