Monday, April 16, 2007

The Future starts Today

Hubble mosaic of the galaxy NGC 7319 from Stephan's Quintet.
Located in the constellation Pegasus, 270 million light-years from Earth, it was discovered by Edouard M. Stephan in 1877. As the name suggests, the quintet actually contains five galaxies and is the first compact group ever discovered.

One step closer to shaping ‘Cosmic Vision 2015-2025’

“The future starts today” said ESA’s Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, addressing the community on 11 April 2007.
Following the call for proposals issued early March this year, ESA received more than 60 ‘Letters Of Intent’. Through these, European research teams expressed their intention to submit proposals for new scientific missions and provided their preliminary concepts.

The mission concepts range from the exploration of Jupiter and its satellite Europa, to satellites studying radiation from the Big Bang and testing theories concerning the inflation of the Universe. The concepts also include missions studying near-Earth asteroids, satellites looking for liquid water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and spacecraft to verify gravity as one of the fundamental forces.

On 29 June ESA will receive detailed missions proposals. Starting in October 2007, until mid-2009, ESA’s Space Science Advisory committee and scientific working groups will assess the proposals and pre-select three ‘class-M’ missions and three ‘class-L’ missions.

Class-M missions are medium-size projects, where the costs to ESA do not exceed 300 million euros. Class-L missions are larger projects, with cost envelopes not exceeding 650 million euros.

By the end of 2009, out of these three class-M and three class-L missions (plus LISA), two class-M and two class-L missions will further be short-listed for the definition phase (mission ‘phase A’). This phase will be run by European industries on a competitive basis between the beginning of 2010 and mid-2011.

By the end of 2011, one class-M and one class-L mission each will be adopted for implementation with launch foreseen in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Image taken using Hubble's Wide Field & Planetary Camera 2 on Dec. 30, 1998 and June 17, 1999. Credits: NASA/ESA, J. English (U. of Manitoba), S. Hunsberger (PSU), Z. Levay ( STSI), S. Gallagher (PSU) and J. Charlton (PSU)
Was Einstein Right?
Public Peek At Gravity Probe B Results from Science Daily
Where has all the antimatter gone? VELO from SciTech

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