The key science objectives of the Einstein Probe mission are to:
- Reveal quiescent black holes over almost all astrophysical mass scales and study how matter fall onto them, by detecting their rare X-ray transient events, particularly stars being tidally-disrupted by otherwise dormant massive black holes in galactic centers.
- Detect and locate the electromagnetic-wave counterparts of gravitational-wave events (such as binary neutron-star mergers) found with the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors.
- Perform systematic all-sky surveys for a diverse set of X-ray transients/bursts and the variability of known X-ray sources over a wide range of timescales and at high cadence, including supernova shock breakout, black hole X-ray binaries, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, and stellar coronal activity, etc.
The mission will address questions such as the prevalence of black holes in the universe, how black holes accrete mass and launch jets, the astrophysical origins and underlying processes of gravitational wave bursts, and details of the physics which operates in extreme conditions of strong gravity.