ESA Selects Three New Mission Concepts for Study

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ESA Selects Three New Mission Concepts for Study

Post by bystander » Thu May 10, 2018 2:06 pm

ESA Selects Three New Mission Concepts for Study
ESA | Science & Technology | 2018 May 07
A high-energy survey of the early Universe, an infrared observatory to study the formation of stars, planets and galaxies, and a Venus orbiter are to be considered for ESA's fifth medium class mission in its Cosmic Vision science programme, with a planned launch date in 2032.

The three candidates, the Transient High Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor (Theseus), the SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (Spica), and the EnVision mission to Venus were selected from 25 proposals put forward by the scientific community.

Theseus, Spica and EnVision will be studied in parallel and a final decision is expected in 2021. ...

Theseus is a novel mission to monitor transient events in the high-energy Universe across the whole sky and over the entirety of cosmic history. In particular, it promises to make a complete census of gamma-ray bursts from the Universe's first billion years, to help shed light on the life cycle of the first stars. ...

Spica, a joint European-Japanese project that offers significant improvement in far-infrared spectroscopic and survey capabilities over NASA's Spitzer and ESA's Herschel space observatories, would ensure continuing advances can be made in this field. It would also complement the capabilities of existing and foreseen major observatories, such as the ground-based Atacama Large Millimetre/submillmetre Array and the space-based Webb telescope. ...

EnVision follows on from ESA's highly successful Venus Express that focused primarily on atmospheric research. Planned to be implemented with NASA participation, next-generation EnVision would determine the nature and current state of geological activity on Venus and its relationship with the atmosphere, to better understand the different evolutionary pathways of the two planets. ...

Solar Orbiter, Euclid, PLATO, and ARIEL have already been selected as medium-class missions to be launched during the next decade.
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