Author Topic: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates  (Read 48098 times)

Offline bolun

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ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« on: 12/02/2009 05:11 PM »
ESA's  M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates

02 Dec 2009

A series of formal presentations on the 6 medium-class candidate missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan was made to a large gathering of Europe's scientific community on 1 December. This meeting marks the end of the assessment phase and the start of the down-selection process. The assessment study reports are now available.

The Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan is the current embodiment of ESA's long term scientific programme. The plan, which has been defined following consultation with the European scientific community, identifies the major scientific questions to be addressed by ESA' s future space science missions.

The missions under study as M-class candidates for a launch in 2017 and 2018 are:

Cross Scale – Performing detailed in situ multi-spacecraft exploration of universal plasma phenomena occurring in near-Earth space in order to address fundamental questions such as: how shocks accelerate and heat particles; how reconnection converts magnetic energy and how turbulence transports energy.

Euclid - Mapping the geometry of the dark Universe by investigating the distance-redshift relationship and the evolution of cosmic structures through two complementary methods: baryonic acoustic oscillations measurements and weak gravitational lensing, by means of a visible/near-infrared survey of all galaxies and clusters of galaxies out to a redshift of about 2.

Marco Polo - Returning a sample from a primitive Near-Earth asteroid which will allow the study of the origin and formation of the Solar System and the planets, characterisation of a Near-Earth asteroid as a representative of a primitive Solar System body, and contribute to the field of astrobiology.

PLATO – Detecting and characterising exoplanetary systems of all kinds, by providing a full statistical analysis of exoplanetary systems around stars that are bright and nearby enough to allow for simultaneous and/or later detailed studies of their host stars.

Solar Orbiter - Approaching the Sun as close as 48 solar radii, Solar Orbiter will view the solar atmosphere with high spatial resolution and combine this with measurements made in situ. Over the extended mission periods Solar Orbiter will deliver images and data that will cover the polar regions and the side of the Sun not visible from Earth.

SPICA - Probing galaxy, star and planetary system formation, as well as the evolution of dust and gas in the interstellar medium of our own and distant galaxies, with imaging and spectroscopy spanning mid- to far-infrared wavelengths.

Next step: down-selection to 3 to 4 M-class missions

In mid-January the advisory bodies will convene to prepare a recommendation for which of these M-class mission concepts should be carried forward to the definition phase. On the basis of this recommendation the Executive will present a proposal to the Science Programme Committee in February 2010.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=46009

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=100

« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 08:15 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2009 05:18 PM »

European space missions given cost warning


Europe's scientists have presented the six dream space missions they would like to fly before 2020.

The European Space Agency (Esa) will probably carry just three or four of the ideas forward for further study.

And it warned some of the concept teams that their likely costs would bust the budget available to carry them out.

The agency intends to allocate the best ventures up to 475 million euros (£430m) (at 2010 prices) each to implement their ideas.

But the early cost estimates indicate four of the competing consortia are already struggling to shape those ideas to the cash available, and two of the missions are projected to have a final price for Esa of 600 million euros (£540m) or more.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8389906.stm

« Last Edit: 12/02/2009 05:20 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #2 on: 01/21/2010 06:44 PM »

Esa mission concepts vie for position

The competition to find the next great European space mission has seen three ideas move to the front of the field.

- A satellite that would map the "dark Universe" (called Euclid), a probe to study the Sun up-close (Solar Orbiter), and a telescope to find distant planets (Plato).

The European Space Agency's (Esa) Science Programme Committee (SPC) will meet next month to consider the current status of the candidates. A final decision is unlikely to be made for a year or so.

Only two missions can be afforded out of the three.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8469782.stm


Offline Analyst

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #3 on: 01/21/2010 07:31 PM »
"... the next great European ..." They are all great, even if they are "just" medium (M), not large (L) missions. The latter will come a little later, are even more great (and hopefully include a Ganymede orbiter). The two L missions already in the making are Gaia and BeppiColumbo.

Analyst
« Last Edit: 01/21/2010 07:35 PM by Analyst »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #4 on: 02/20/2010 06:32 PM »

ESA chooses three scientific missions for further study

19 February 2010

ESA’s Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved three missions to enter the so-called definition phase. This is the next step required before the final decision is taken as to which missions are implemented.

The three proposals chosen to proceed are Euclid, PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO), and Solar Orbiter. Only two missions out of three of them, can be selected for the M-class launch slots. The final decision about which missions to implement will be taken after the definition activities are completed, which is foreseen to be in mid-2011.
 
In addition, the SPC has decided to consider at its next meeting in June, whether to also select a European contribution to the SPICA mission. SPICA would be an infrared space telescope led by the Japanese Space Agency JAXA. It would provide ‘missing-link’ infrared coverage in the region of the spectrum between that seen by the ESA-NASA Webb telescope and the ground-based ALMA telescope. SPICA would focus on the conditions for planet formation and distant young galaxies.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMSHM7CS5G_index_0.html

« Last Edit: 02/20/2010 06:39 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #5 on: 07/25/2010 09:07 PM »

Notification of a forthcoming Call for Proposals for a medium-sized mission with a possible launch in 2022

08 Jul 2010

At the end of July 2010, the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration plans to issue a Call for Proposals for medium-sized (M-class) missions, as part of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Plan - ESA's long term scientific plan.

The Call is planned to lead to the selection of one M-class mission for a launch opportunity currently foreseen around late 2022.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=47371

Offline simonbp

The three proposals chosen to proceed are Euclid, PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO), and Solar Orbiter.

PLATO is like Kepler on Steroids, with a huge array of small telescopes looking for exoplanet transits across a much wider field than the single-aperture Kepler. The fate of PLATO thus really hangs on what the Kepler results announced in October look like...

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #7 on: 07/28/2010 01:01 AM »
I'm not so sure about that, there is one other crucial difference between Kepler and PLATO, PLATO will be able to observe much brighter stars than Kepler can.  The main problem with Kepler is that no matter what results it churns out, there is little chance of RV follow-up on most of it's discoveries because of the relatively dim stars and even if there is it's pushing the limit of what's achievable.

Kepler is essentially testing the water, collecting stats, PLATO will instead discover the first planets that can really be studied in detail. So the requirement for PLATO is there really no matter what Kepler turns up.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2010 01:03 AM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Drkskywxlt

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #8 on: 07/28/2010 02:39 PM »
From what I've read, PLATO is the only one of these candidates that is currently forecasted to stay below the cost cap of 485M Euro.  So, that might be a big feather in it's cap alone. 

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #9 on: 08/01/2010 08:54 PM »

Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity for a launch in 2022

29 Jul 2010

Through the present Call for Missions the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration solicits from the broad scientific community proposals for the competitive selection of mission concepts to be candidate for the implementation of one medium-size (M-class) mission for launch in 2022, following the launch of the first L-class mission.

The launch of the M-class mission selected through the present Call could be brought forward to approximately 2020 should the first L-class mission slip in time.

The ceiling to the cost to ESA for an M-class mission is 470 MEuro.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=47570

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #10 on: 02/25/2011 02:48 PM »
Four candidates selected for the next medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision (M3 Period 2020-22)

25 Feb 2011

Looking ahead to the next decade of scientific exploration, ESA has today (25 February) selected four candidates for a medium-class mission that will launch in the period 2020-22. The candidates cover very different areas of scientific research, ranging from investigations of black holes and general relativity to near-Earth asteroid sample return and studies of planets orbiting distant stars.

The four proposals chosen to proceed for assessment are EChO, LOFT, MarcoPolo-R and STE-QUEST.

- The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO) would be the first dedicated mission to investigate exoplanetary atmospheres, addressing the suitability of those planets for life and placing our Solar System in context.
       
      Orbiting around the L2 Lagrange point, 1.5 million km from Earth in the anti-sunward direction, EChO would provide high resolution, multi-wavelength spectroscopic observations. It would measure the atmospheric composition, temperature and albedo of a representative sample of known exoplanets, constrain models of their internal structure and improve our understanding of how planets form and evolve.
       
- The Large Observatory For X-ray Timing (LOFT) is intended to answer fundamental questions about the motion of matter orbiting close to the event horizon of a black hole, and the state of matter in neutron stars, by detecting their very rapid X-ray flux and spectral variability.
       
      LOFT would carry two instruments: a Large Area Detector with an effective area far larger than current spaceborne X-ray detectors, and a Wide Field Monitor that would monitor a large fraction of the sky. With its high spectral resolution, LOFT would revolutionise studies of collapsed objects in our Galaxy and of the brightest supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei.
       
MarcoPolo-R is a mission to return a sample of material from a primitive near-Earth asteroid (NEA) for detailed analysis in ground-based laboratories. The scientific data would help to answer key questions about the processes that occurred during planet formation and the evolution of the rocks which were the building blocks of terrestrial planets.
       
      The mission would also reveal whether NEAs contain pre-solar material not yet found in meteorite samples, determine the nature and origin of the organic compounds they contain, and possibly shed light on the origin of molecules necessary for life.
       
- The Space-Time Explorer and Quantum Equivalence Principle Space Test (STE-QUEST) is devoted to precise measurement of the effects of gravity on time and matter. Its main objective would be to test the Principle of Equivalence, a fundamental assumption of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. STE-QUEST would measure space-time curvature by comparing the tick rate of an atomic clock on the spacecraft with other clocks on the ground.
       
      A second primary goal is a quantum test of the Universality of Free Fall – the theory that gravitational acceleration is universal, independent of the type of body.

There are currently three missions - Euclid, PLATO and Solar Orbiter - which are undergoing competitive assessment for selection as the first and second medium class missions under Cosmic Vision. The final selection for M1 and M2 will be made later this year, with launches expected in 2017-18.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=48467
« Last Edit: 03/01/2011 08:31 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #11 on: 04/04/2011 08:44 PM »
Web pages of ESA Cosmic Vision M3 candidates:

- EChO: http://echo-spacemission.eu/
 
- LOFT: http://gri.rm.iasf.cnr.it/index.htm

- MarcoPolo-R:  http://www.oca.eu/MarcoPolo-R/
       
- STE-QUEST: http://www.exphy.uni-duesseldorf.de/optical_clock/ste-quest.php

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #12 on: 09/27/2011 01:02 PM »
Call for declaration of Interest in Science Instrumentation - Cosmic Vision Mission: STE-QUEST

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49230

Call for declaration of Interest in Science Instrumentation - Cosmic Vision Mission: Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO)

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49228

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #13 on: 10/04/2011 07:19 PM »
Dark and bright: ESA chooses next two science missions (M1 and M2 Missions)
 
4 October 2011

ESA PR 25 2011 - The powerful influence of the Sun and the nature of the mysterious 'dark energy' motivate ESA’s next two science missions. Solar Orbiter and Euclid were selected today by ESA's Science Programme Committee for implementation, with launches planned for 2017 and 2019.

Solar Orbiter´s launch is planned for 2017 from Cape Canaveral with a NASA-provided Atlas launch vehicle. 

Euclid's launch, on a Soyuz launch vehicle, is planned for 2019 from Europe's Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana.

These two missions are medium-class missions and are the first in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Plan.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMOZ59U7TG_index_0.html
« Last Edit: 10/04/2011 07:28 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #14 on: 10/04/2011 07:36 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15146082

Quote
Europe is to lead the most ambitious space mission ever undertaken to study the behaviour of the Sun.

Known as Solar Orbiter, the probe will have to operate a mere 42 million km from our star - closer than any spacecraft to date.

The mission proposal was formally adopted by European Space Agency (Esa) member states on Tuesday.

Solar Orbiter is expected to launch in 2017 and will cost close to a billion euros.

Nasa (the US space agency) will participate, providing two instruments for the probe and the rocket to send it on its way.

The Esa delegates, who were meeting in Paris, also selected a mission to investigate two of the great mysteries of modern cosmology - dark matter and dark energy.

The Euclid telescope will map the distribution of galaxies to try to get some fresh insight on these dark puzzles.

Like Solar Orbiter, Euclid's cost will be close to a billion euros. However, the mission still needs to clear some legal hurdles and formal adoption is not expected until next year. A launch could occur in 2019.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #15 on: 10/10/2011 07:05 PM »
Call for declaration of Interest in Science Instrumentation - Cosmic Vision Mission: LOFT

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49357

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #16 on: 11/14/2011 07:55 PM »
Call for declaration of Interest in Science Instrumentation - Cosmic Vision Mission: MarcoPolo-R

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49359

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Plato lives
« Reply #17 on: 12/10/2011 02:15 PM »
http://www.oact.inaf.it/plato/PPLC/News/Entries/2011/12/1_PLATO_Newsletter_files/PLATO-Newsletter-1_1.pdf

Plato team plan to submit an application to the M3 selection competition.

Offline simonbp

Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #18 on: 12/10/2011 03:26 PM »
Yeah, that's not a surprise. They said back in September that would be the case if they didn't selected for M2, and it's become the tradition now that last time's runner-up becomes this time's frontrunner. Still, it's far from given.

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #19 on: 12/10/2011 06:48 PM »
It was decided they'd be allowed to compete again, not that they would.  I half had in my mind the non-selection of Plato was a nod to NASA's similar TESS mission. This will mean there are two exoplanet missions in the lineup for M3, It will be especially telling if neither gets selected again as exoplanet science has had a rough time on proposals either side of the pond as of late. Marcopolo is another former selection candidate so it won't be easy.

Interesting the launch date for M3 mentioned in the newsletter is 2024, two years later than previously mentioned.  Could be just the requirement for Plato but surprising it would take so long considering all the work on the mission that's already been done.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2011 06:54 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline as58

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #20 on: 12/10/2011 10:34 PM »
Interesting the launch date for M3 mentioned in the newsletter is 2024, two years later than previously mentioned.  Could be just the requirement for Plato but surprising it would take so long considering all the work on the mission that's already been done.

I was wondering about that myself, maybe they've delayed the whole M3 schedule. I wouldn't be surprised if the Plato newsletter just happened to be the first one to publish the new timeline. In my experience delays to ESA missions are well known within the community before they become official. Or it could be just a typo in the newsletter.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #21 on: 01/21/2012 10:22 AM »
ESA Official Says NASA Decision on Euclid Needed Before May

http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120120-esa-official-nasa-decision-euclid.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #22 on: 02/06/2012 04:32 PM »
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120203-panel-endorses-euclid.html

Quote
NASA should contribute $20 million worth of hardware to Europe’s planned Euclid dark-matter observatory, but only “in the context of a strong U.S. commitment” to the proposed Wide-field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a panel of astrophysicists said.

The National Research Council’s Committee on the Assessment of a Plan for U.S. Participation in Euclid was asked by NASA in November to determine whether that mission would help fulfill any of WFIRST’s science objectives. The European Space Agency (ESA) wants NASA to provide near-infrared detectors for Euclid in exchange for a spot on the 12-member Euclid science team and early access to the mission’s science data.

ESA has said that if the United States wants to participate, a formal memorandum of understanding must be signed by mid-May.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #23 on: 09/25/2012 10:47 AM »
Announcement of Opportunity for the provision of scientific payload including SGS elements for the M3 mission candidates

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50836

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #24 on: 07/05/2013 08:02 PM »
http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/46510-cosmic-vision/?fbodylongid=2153

Quote
The selection of the M3 mission is planned to take place in February 2014, with one single mission selected for implementation. Mission adoption is planned to take place in 2015.

The PLATO mission joins ECHO, LOFT, Marco-Polo-R and STE-QUEST as the five candidate missions for the M3 launch opportunity.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #25 on: 10/24/2013 07:28 PM »
http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/53109-cosmic-vision-m3-candidate-missions-presentation-event/

Quote
The mission concepts are nearing the completion of their Assessment Phase study activities, and the Advisory Structure to the ESA Science Programme will be asked, in January 2014, to recommend which of the five should be carried forward for Definition Phase activities. The Science Programme Committee will then decide on the matter in February of 2014.

In view of this selection, the five M3-mission concepts EChO, LOFT, MarcoPolo-R, PLATO, and STE-QUEST will be presented to the scientific community on 21 January 2014, at the Institut Océanographique de Paris.


Offline bolun

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Offline jebbo

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #27 on: 01/20/2014 12:56 PM »
This article suggests one of the candidates will be *chosen* tomorrow.  I thought tomorrow was only a presentation of the five candidate?

http://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/space_academy/20140117.OBS2881/plato-la-sonde-traqueuse-d-exoplanete-et-d-exolunes.html

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #28 on: 01/20/2014 01:10 PM »
I believe the SSAC will decide on its recommendation to ESA during tomorrow's meeting too. As it's highly unusual for the recommendation to be rejected it effectively means that mission will be selected.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #29 on: 01/20/2014 04:13 PM »
According to ESA's last Press Release

http://www.esa.int/For_Media/Press_Releases/ESA_activities_in_2014_of_interest_to_media

Quote
Result of Cosmic Vision M-class mission down-selection

ESA selected in February 2011 five candidates for a medium-class mission – M3 – for a launch opportunity in 2024 (EChO, LOFT, MarcoPolo-R, PLATO and STE-QUEST). The Science Programme Committee members will make their final decision on the M3 mission during their February meeting.

Location: Press release on www.esa.int
Expected date: 19–20 February
 

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #30 on: 01/25/2014 05:19 PM »
Knew I wasn't going mad...

http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/53627-decision-time-nears-for-m3-mission-candidates/

Quote
Immediately after the presentation meeting on 21 January, ESA's Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) met to evaluate the candidate missions and to make a recommendation to the Science Programme Executive about which concept should be carried forward for Definition Phase activities.



The final decision will be 19-20 February, but we may get a leak regarding the recommendation before then, that's what happened in previous competitions IIRC.

Offline Star One

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #31 on: 01/25/2014 07:08 PM »
Interesting that there are two exoplanet focused missions represented in the candidate list

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #32 on: 01/26/2014 01:02 PM »
Forgot to mention, apparently STE-Quest was knocked out of the running due to scheduling issues with the payload.  So then there were four...

http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/missions/m3-candidate-missions

Quote
In February 2011 EChO, LOFT, MarcoPolo-R and STE-Quest were selected for assessment phase studies, though STE-Quest was removed from the competition in January 2014 due to technical readiness issues.




Interesting that there are two exoplanet focused missions represented in the candidate list

Still may not get one selected though, based on the reports I'd say it's looking like the sample return mission is favoured.
« Last Edit: 01/26/2014 01:02 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #33 on: 01/29/2014 06:00 PM »
Looks like I was wrong, SSAC chose PLATO!  ;D

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25911893

Quote
Plato planet-hunter in pole position

A telescope to find thousands of planets beyond our Solar System is the hot favourite for selection as Europe's next medium-class science mission.

Offline jebbo

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #34 on: 01/29/2014 07:49 PM »
The final slides that were presented are here: http://t.co/fZ50cniXfs

On my tablet, so please feel free to download and attach properly as I don't seem able to on this device:-/

--- Tony
EDIT: looks like the file is no longer available.  However, I have it on my tablet.  Is there somewhere on L2 where it can be uploaded to?
EDIT 2: finally managed to transfer the file to a PC and upload
« Last Edit: 02/01/2014 09:48 AM by jebbo »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #35 on: 01/30/2014 02:45 AM »
There was nice presentation on PLATO at the last Kepler conference http://nexsci.caltech.edu/conferences/KeplerII/agenda.shtml (scroll down to Nov 6, archived video)

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #36 on: 01/30/2014 09:22 AM »
BBC news article stating that PLATO is considered the front runner here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25911893

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #37 on: 01/31/2014 01:05 PM »
« Last Edit: 01/31/2014 01:06 PM by bolun »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #38 on: 02/01/2014 12:05 PM »
The final slides that were presented are here: http://t.co/fZ50cniXfs

On my tablet, so please feel free to download and attach properly as I don't seem able to on this device:-/

--- Tony
EDIT: looks like the file is no longer available.  However, I have it on my tablet.  Is there somewhere on L2 where it can be uploaded to?
EDIT 2: finally managed to transfer the file to a PC and upload

Also available here in PDF version

http://www.oact.inaf.it/plato/PPLC/Home.html
« Last Edit: 02/01/2014 12:08 PM by bolun »

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Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #40 on: 02/19/2014 04:44 PM »
N° 6–2014: ESA selects planet-hunting PLATO misión

19 February 2014

A space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars has been selected today as ESA’s third medium-class science mission. It is planned for launch by 2024.

The PLATO – Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars – mission was selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee for implementation as part of its Cosmic Vision 2015–25 Programme.

The mission will address two key themes of Cosmic Vision: what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life, and how does the Solar System work?

PLATO will monitor relatively nearby stars, searching for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets transit in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight.

By using 34 separate small telescopes and cameras, PLATO will search for planets around up to a million stars spread over half of the sky.

It will also investigate seismic activity in the stars, enabling a precise characterisation of the host sun of each planet discovered, including its mass, radius and age.

When coupled with ground-based radial velocity observations, PLATO’s measurements will allow a planet’s mass and radius to be calculated, and therefore its density, providing an indication of its composition.

The mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with an emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths in the habitable zone of their parent star – the distance from the star where liquid surface water could exist.

“PLATO, with its unique ability to hunt for Sun–Earth analogue systems, will build on the expertise accumulated with a number of European missions, including CoRot and Cheops,” says Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

“Its discoveries will help to place our own Solar System’s architecture in the context of other planetary systems.

“All M3 mission candidates presented excellent opportunities for answering the major scientific questions that define our Cosmic Vision programme.”

The four other mission concepts competing for the M3 launch opportunity were: EChO (the Exoplanet CHaracterisation Observatory), LOFT (the Large Observatory For x-ray Timing), MarcoPolo-R (to collect and return a sample from a near-Earth asteroid) and STE-Quest (Space-Time Explorer and QUantum Equivalence principle Space Test).

PLATO joins Solar Orbiter and Euclid, which were chosen in 2011 as ESA’s first M-class missions. Solar Orbiter will be launched in 2017 to study the Sun and solar wind from a distance of less than 50 million km, while Euclid, to be launched in 2020, will focus on dark energy, dark matter and the structure of the Universe.

PLATO will be launched on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou by 2024 for an initial six-year mission. It will operate from L2, a virtual point in space 1.5 million km beyond Earth as seen from the Sun.

Data from ESA’s recently launched Gaia mission will help PLATO to provide precise characteristics of thousands of exoplanet systems. These systems will provide natural targets for detailed follow-up observations by future large ground- and space-based observatories.

1964–2014: 50 years serving European cooperation and innovation

In 1964, the Conventions of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) and the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) entered into force. A little more than a decade later, the European Space Agency (ESA) was established, taking over from these two organisations.

2014 will be dedicated to addressing the future in the light of these 50 years of unique achievements in space, which have put ESA among the leading space agencies in the world.

The motto ”serving European cooperation and innovation” underlines how much ESA, together with the national delegations from its 20 Member States, space industry, the scientific community and more recently the EU, has made a difference for Europe and its citizens.

Fifty years of European cooperation in space is an anniversary for the whole space sector in Europe, which can be proud of its results and achievements. It is a testimony that when Member States share the same challenging objectives and join forces, Europe is at the leading edge of progress, innovation and growth, for the benefit of all citizens.

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU to implement the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more at www.esa.int
For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office
Email: media@esa.int
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99

http://www.esa.int/For_Media/Press_Releases/ESA_selects_planet-hunting_PLATO_mission

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #41 on: 02/20/2014 08:40 AM »
Europe’s planet-hunting mission gets the green light

http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/news-and-events/2014/Feb/plato-green-light

Space telescope PLATO 2.0 to search for a 'second Earth'

http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10081/151_read-9608/year-all/#gallery/13778

European Space Agency picks Plato planet-hunting misión

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26267918
« Last Edit: 02/20/2014 08:04 PM by bolun »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #42 on: 08/20/2014 08:13 AM »
Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)

19 August 2014

Through this Call for Missions the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration solicits from the broad scientific community proposals for the competitive selection of mission concepts to be candidate for the implementation of a medium-size, or M-class, mission (M4) for launch in 2025.

 http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/54490-call-for-a-medium-size-mission-opportunity-in-esa-science-programme-for-a-launch-in-2025/

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #43 on: 01/24/2015 12:53 AM »
Only tangentially related, but an interesting development and not sure where else to put it...


The scientific lead behind M3's "ECHO", which has now evolved into "ARIEL" for the M4 call, was from UCL. It now seems the UCL team are spearheading a smallsat mission in collaboration with SSTL.  The intention seems to be get a headstart in transit spectroscopy.  This is the same strategy the PLATO team used, which lead to CHEOPS.

http://www.sstl.co.uk/Blog/January-2015/Twinkle-A-British-mission-to-explore-Exoplanets
Quote
TWINKLE: A BRITISH MISSION TO EXPLORE EXOPLANETS
Twinkle, a bold and pioneering British mission, will observe more than one hundred known exoplanets and will unveil their weather, history and the chemical composition of their atmosphere.
« Last Edit: 01/24/2015 07:40 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #44 on: 01/24/2015 08:30 PM »
Proposal submission for M4 ended on the 15th.  I've been trying to find out what missions were planned to be submitted.

Here's EnVision, a Sentinel 1-derived Synthetic Aperture Radar mapper for Venus.

http://www.envisionm4.net/index.php

Quote
EnVision is a planetary orbiter mission competing for the European Space Agency's 2025 launch opportunity. It will accomplish revolutionary surface, interior and atmospheric science to determine the nature and rate of change caused by geological and atmospheric processes. The incredible data harvest will allow us to understand why Venus has evolved so differently from Earth despite their apparent sister-planet characteristics.

Letter of intent - http://www.envisionm4.net/Resources/EnVision-Letter%20of%20Intent.pdf
Submission summary - http://www.envisionm4.net/Resources/ExecutiveSummary.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 02:19 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #45 on: 01/25/2015 12:22 AM »
Another is Castalia, a mission to orbit a Main Belt Comet.

https://sites.google.com/site/castaliathemission/home

Quote
Main Belt Comets (MBCs), a type of Active Asteroid, constitute a newly identified class of solar system objects. They have stable, asteroid-like orbits and some exhibit a recurrent comet-like appearance. It is believed that they survived the age of the solar system in a dormant state and that their current ice sublimation driven activity only began recently. Buried water ice is the only volatile expected to survive under an insulating surface. Excavation by an impact can expose the ice and trigger the start of MBC activity. We present the case for a mission to one of these objects, to be submitted to the European Space Agency’s current call for an M-class mission.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 02:20 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #46 on: 01/25/2015 07:20 AM »
Galileo Galilei, a relativity experiment in orbit, to some extent a successor mission to µSCOPE. Apparently previously failed to make it in the S1 competition, and is still sized more for a "small" mission.

http://eotvos.dm.unipi.it/WorkshopINRIM/index.html

Letter of Intent: http://eotvos.dm.unipi.it/WorkshopINRIM/GGletterOfIntentM4.pdf

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #47 on: 01/25/2015 07:29 AM »
LOFT, "Large Observatory For X-ray Timing" to study the motion of matter near black holes and neutron stars.

http://www.isdc.unige.ch/loft/index.php/the-loft-mission

Previously submitted to M3, selected for top four, failed.

Submission announcement for M4: http://www.isdc.unige.ch/loft/index.php/structure-of-the-consortium/loft-newsletter-archive/archive/view/listid-1-mailinglist/mailid-75-loft-m4-proposal-and-white-papers

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #48 on: 01/25/2015 10:55 AM »
FARSIDE, a lander+orbiter mission to the Moon's South Pole-Aitken basin. Eclectic mix of science including low-frequency radioastronomy and a seismometer/orbital camera for internal structure study.

Quote
FARSIDE is a mission to the farside of the moon that consists of a lander and an instrumented relay satellite. The lander will make pioneering radio astronomy, geophysical, and geochemical measurements from the interior of the 2000-km diameter South Pole-Aitken basin. From a relay satellite at the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point, the surface will be monitored for impact-generated light flashes, and synergistic radio and magnetic measurements will be obtained.

Full proposal attached below.

Resubmitted from M3, where it had two landers.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 02:16 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #49 on: 01/25/2015 02:36 PM »
AFAIK about 30 missions submitted LoIs (I think it was 31). Not sure about actual mission proposals.

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #50 on: 01/25/2015 08:36 PM »
A look through the PDFs linked in this PDF (accepted presentations at AstroRecon 2015 two weeks ago) reveals two more:

Quote
In the frame of the M4 Cosmic Vision ESA call, low frequency and high frequency radar is also proposed for the Castalia mission to a Main Belt Comet, for Marco Polo 2D to a D-type asteroid and for PhobEx to Phobos.

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #51 on: 02/07/2015 09:34 AM »
^^^

Indeed I cannot find much information on either Marco Polo 2D or PhobEx and do not know whether they submitted.

However here is an interesting interview with the lead for Marco Polo 2D, a sample return from a D-type asteroid in collaboration with the chinese;

https://www.beaconreader.com/katharine-sanderson/grabbing-a-fistful-of-asteroid
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 09:47 AM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #52 on: 02/07/2015 10:03 AM »
Hera, a Saturn atmospheric entry probe.

http://hera.lam.fr/

Quote
The Hera Saturn entry probe mission is proposed as an M-class mission led by ESA with a significant contribution from NASA. It consists of one atmospheric probe to be sent into the atmosphere of Saturn, and a Carrier-Relay spacecraft. Hera will perform in situ measurements of the chemical and isotopic compositions as well as the dynamics of Saturn’s atmosphere using a single probe, with the goal of improving our understanding of the origin, formation, and evolution of Saturn, the giant planets and their satellite systems, with extrapolation to extrasolar planets. Hera will probe well into the cloud-forming region of the troposphere, below the region accessible to remote sensing, to the locations where certain cosmogenically abundant species are expected to be well mixed.

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #53 on: 02/07/2015 10:50 AM »
COrE+, "Cosmic Origins Explorer", a CMB polarimeter to tackle the cosmic inflation question left open by Planck/BICEP et. al.

Quote
COrE+ is an ambitious CMB mission with a science program that will complement the achievements of the Planck satellite. A primary objective of the mission will be to investigate the physics of inflation and to constrain the inflation potential through precise measurements of the CMB polarization B-modes.
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 02:05 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #54 on: 02/07/2015 12:07 PM »
Arago, a UV/Vis spectropolarimetery telescope for stellar and circumstellar physics.

http://lesia.obspm.fr/UVMag/

Quote
During the formation and the entire life of stars and planets, several physical processes, in particular magnetic fields and winds, influence their dynamics, and thus impact their evolution. These processes directly impact the internal structure of stars, the transport of angular momentum, and of course the direct circumstellar environment. They thus drive not only stellar evolution, but also the formation and fate of planets surrounding the stars and the emergence of life. We propose to follow the life cycle of matter, from the interstellar medium to the surface of stars and the edge of the stellar systems, and thus to study the formation, structure, evolution, and 3D dynamic environment of all types of stars and their planets. This will be done through the use of a high-resolution spectropolarimeter working in both the UV and visible wavelength domains attached to a 1.3 meter telescope.

Letter of intent - http://lesia.obspm.fr/UVMag/sites/UVMag/IMG/pdf/arago_loi.pdf
Preliminary design of the full-Stokes UV and visible spectropolarimeter for UVMag/Arago http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.00856
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 02:11 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #55 on: 02/07/2015 01:50 PM »
Theia, ultra-high precision astrometric observatory. Re-badging of the "NEAT" mission study, spawn of Gaia. Unique selling point is a solar-neighborhood census of earth-mass planets.

http://theia.osug.fr/

Quote
The Theia mission will explore the Universe at unprecedented astrometric precision of 0.3µas over a field of about 1 degree. Theia is the divinity of sight and daughter of Gaia. Similarly, the instrument concept carries on the heritage of HIPPARCOS and Gaia missions combined to latest developments in precision metrology control. While giant telescopes and other observatories will do wonders in spectroscopy, imaging, photometry, etc. Theia will enable science cases unique to µas astrometry, a precision that will reveal the Universe in motion like Earth-like planets orbiting around our immediate stellar neighbors, the activity of the most extreme objects known (black holes and neutron stars) and unveil the local sub-structure of the dark matter halo in which the Milky Way resides. Conceived as an open observatory class mission, Theia will bring ultra-precise astrometry to the broader community, including target-of-opportunity science in the era of Extremely Large Telescopes.

Letter of intent - http://theia.osug.fr/IMG/pdf/theia-loi-20140916.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/07/2015 01:58 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #56 on: 02/07/2015 03:20 PM »
Some info about some of the other candidates. There were a few more LoIs, but I didn't find any recent information about them in a quick search.

AGP:
https://lagrange.oca.eu/IMG/pdf/Gai_AGP_2014_2.pdf

Theseus:
www.brera.inaf.it/Swift10/Talks/Amati.pdf

Phenix:
http://sigma-2.cesr.fr/phenix/

Nitro:
http://www.stce.be/esww11/contributions/public/Session12/S12-P-8-YamauchiM/20141120PresentationposterNitro_ESWW.ppt

Alfvén+:
http://alfvenm4.org/

Ravens:
http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/physics/research/rspp/missions/ravens/documentation/Ravens%20proposal.pdf

Uranus Pathfinder:
http://www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/planetary/missions/uranus/

AstroMeV:
http://astromev.in2p3.fr/

Thor:
www5.noa.gr/images/presentations/tuesday/PM1/Vaivads_THOR%20-%20amission%20candidate%20for%20ESA%20M4.pdf

Ariel:
http://ariel-m4.sciencesconf.org/

HiRISE/NEOCE:
www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/~lkh/UKsolarmissions/HiRISE-NEOCE_ESA-M4_mssl-web.pdf

STE-QUEST, which was one of the finalists in M3, is also in the competition.

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #57 on: 03/07/2015 03:51 PM »
The initial downselect, essentially based on cost and schedule targets, has been made. From the chatter can make out that;

ARIEL and LOFT are through

MAQRO, EnVision and COrE+ are out

Trying to find out the status of the others.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2015 04:04 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #58 on: 03/13/2015 12:30 PM »
More chatter;

https://www.beaconreader.com/katharine-sanderson/space-missions-out-of-the-running-in-european-competition

Apparently rumours all the interplanetary missions were dropped in the technical down select.



Thor is through to next stage;
https://wis.kuleuven.be/CmPA/news/2015/thor

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #59 on: 03/15/2015 11:18 AM »
Thanks a lot for the info. I've also heard vague rumours that the technical/cost downselection was very tough this time, but I don't have any info about specific missions.

BTW, this thread would probably be better moved to Space Science coverage section.


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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #60 on: 03/18/2015 04:13 PM »
^^^

Indeed I cannot find much information on either Marco Polo 2D or PhobEx and do not know whether they submitted.

However here is an interesting interview with the lead for Marco Polo 2D, a sample return from a D-type asteroid in collaboration with the chinese;

https://www.beaconreader.com/katharine-sanderson/grabbing-a-fistful-of-asteroid

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31113256

Quote
The MarcoPolo venture, which has been under discussion for a decade, has fallen out of the European Space Agency's latest competition to find a future medium-class mission.

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #61 on: 04/01/2015 05:31 PM »
http://www.nature.com/news/budget-restrictions-bite-for-europe-s-space-mission-hopefuls-1.17226

Full list of the survivors from the technical down-select.

Science down-select interviews are late April with the final shortlist appearing by June.

Offline Star One

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ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #62 on: 04/01/2015 07:43 PM »
http://www.nature.com/news/budget-restrictions-bite-for-europe-s-space-mission-hopefuls-1.17226

Full list of the survivors from the technical down-select.

Science down-select interviews are late April with the final shortlist appearing by June.

Extremely disappointing sounds like we are left with a very conservative list. Let's hope ESA is able to exercise more flexibility when this comes around again with the next downselect.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2015 07:44 PM by Star One »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #63 on: 04/03/2015 09:03 AM »
Indeed, not a lot of blockbuster science left in.  Should also be a bit of a wake-up call that it can't seem to do any interplanetary mission for €650 million. Seriously?

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #64 on: 04/03/2015 02:59 PM »
Indeed, not a lot of blockbuster science left in.  Should also be a bit of a wake-up call that it can't seem to do any interplanetary mission for €650 million. Seriously?
This M call was lowered to €450M, that's the main reason planetary was left out. May be the lesson is that you can't lower the budgets without sacrificing the most break through science.
« Last Edit: 04/03/2015 05:24 PM by baldusi »

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #65 on: 04/03/2015 03:20 PM »
Indeed, not a lot of blockbuster science left in.  Should also be a bit of a wake-up call that it can't seem to do any interplanetary mission for €650 million. Seriously?
This M call was lowered to €450M, that's the mail reason planetary was left out. May be the lesson is that you can't lower the budgets without sacrificing the most break through science.
Bingo!

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #66 on: 04/03/2015 03:45 PM »
Yes I know it was lowered, but €450m is just the cost to ESA. Member states supply instruments meaning total cost will be higher.

My point is compare this to NASA's Discovery program for example. Why is ESA's investment,even at this lowered rate, not enough to produce a feasible interplanetary mission?
« Last Edit: 04/03/2015 03:50 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline baldusi

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #67 on: 04/03/2015 05:33 PM »
Yes I know it was lowered, but €450m is just the cost to ESA. Member states supply instruments meaning total cost will be higher.

My point is compare this to NASA's Discovery program for example. Why is ESA's investment,even at this lowered rate, not enough to produce a feasible interplanetary mission?
Planetary missions may take many cycles to optimize and actually do reasonable budgets. And the better designed will be near the cost cup. As you reduce the cost cap, you end up decreaming the selection of missions. Planeray requires quite an expense to actually reach the planet, thus, all increased budget over that fixed cost is put into instrumentation and capabilities that increase a lot the science payoff, take a 20% of the cost, and you most probably will end up with a worthless mission.
BTW, does anyone know if the ESA cost cap include the launch services?

Offline kato

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #68 on: 04/04/2015 08:06 AM »
BTW, does anyone know if the ESA cost cap include the launch services?
It does. All Cosmic Vision cost caps include "all cost to ESA". ESA provides a blackbox launch price for launch with various launchers in its Q&As for Cosmic Vision so people proposing have something to pencil in for launch services.
For the M4 competition, the only options were Vega for €45m or Soyuz at €75m. The Q&A further explain that these should be seen only as nominal cost launch vectors since by the time of the M4 launch Soyuz should be replaced by Ariane 6, Vega should have the more powerful Vega-C option etc. Proposals are free to use the quoted costs for rideshare etc calculations too.

My point is compare this to NASA's Discovery program for example. Why is ESA's investment,even at this lowered rate, not enough to produce a feasible interplanetary mission?
Interplanetary missions usually need larger launchers. Larger launchers cost more money. NASA's Discovery program (or rather, generally their mission accounting) hides the cost for these, while their instrument load is often - by comparison - on the low side.

If I have a mission that requires a 200-million launcher (Ariane) to put a handful of relatively cheap instruments towards another planet, I'm effectively cutting my budget by at least one third by using ESA-style accounting in comparison to NASA-style accounting. If I have a plan that uses a 40-million launcher (Vega) to place some high-priced instruments into Earth orbit for LEO for an astronomy mission i'm running better with ESA than NASA.

Offline vjkane

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #69 on: 04/04/2015 10:57 PM »
NASA's Discovery program (or rather, generally their mission accounting) hides the cost for these, while their instrument load is often - by comparison - on the low side.
For NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers missions, the PI mission cost includes all instrument costs for instruments developed within the US.  Instruments (or portions of instruments) contributed by scientists from outside the US do not count towards the PI cost cap.  Launch and, for the current Discovery competition, mission operation costs are not included in the PI cost cap.

If you look at several of NASA's Discovery missions, 50% or more of the instruments come from outside the US.  While the best instrument technology sometimes exists outside the US, this has also been a way to fit more science within the PI cost cap.

On the Discovery InSight mission, both science instruments came from outside the US.  (Two engineering subsystems that will also be used for science investigations, the radio system and weather monitoring system, are US-built.)  This led to some teeth gnashing among US scientists who wonder why the US is paying to fly missions without US instruments.  Starting with the current Discovery competition, no more than 1/3 of the instrument cost or count can be foreign contributed.

The current Discovery PI cost cap is $450M.  The next Medium ESA (M5) mission is reported to be expected to have a cost cap of 550-600M Euro.  (The M4 cap is lower than normal to cover cost overruns on other missions.)  Given that the purchasing parity for the dollar and Euro is about 1:1, this means that once the different accounting rules are taken into account, a Discovery and M5 proposer has roughly equivalent budgets to work with.  (Launchers for planetary missions typically cost much more than instruments.)


Offline kato

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #70 on: 04/05/2015 10:42 AM »
There's even one proposed mission that abuses the two accounting methods as good as they give. The AIDA successor AIM/DART. Essentially splitting the mission into a US-paid section with a fast kinetic interceptor (next to no instruments but pricy launcher) that NASA can put as low a price tag as possible on and a European-paid section with a slow orbiter on a standard bus (packed with instruments, but cheap launch) that ESA can put a low price tag as possible on. If the two were switched the nominal mission cost would probably roughly double.

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #71 on: 04/05/2015 02:01 PM »
Interplanetary missions usually need larger launchers. Larger launchers cost more money. NASA's Discovery program (or rather, generally their mission accounting) hides the cost for these, while their instrument load is often - by comparison - on the low side.

If I have a mission that requires a 200-million launcher (Ariane) to put a handful of relatively cheap instruments towards another planet, I'm effectively cutting my budget by at least one third by using ESA-style accounting in comparison to NASA-style accounting. If I have a plan that uses a 40-million launcher (Vega) to place some high-priced instruments into Earth orbit for LEO for an astronomy mission i'm running better with ESA than NASA.

But as you correctly pointed out, all the M4 proposals were only given the option of Vega or Soyuz.  Just like the others the planetary proposals were sized for these launchers.  That may or may not have hurt their science case, but that hasn't been looked at yet, they were thrown out on cost and scheduling criteria.  If they are all using the same launchers then higher launch costs are not the issue.


I think vjkane brings up an important point about how in the ESA system, despite inter-agency funding of instruments being common, this doesn't help free funds for other areas of the mission.  This means a simple mission with a handful of instruments will always be more likely to pass cost criteria compared to a more ambitious mission profile but with more international funding on the instruments despite total cost to ESA/member states of the latter being equivalent.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2015 02:10 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline vjkane

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #72 on: 04/05/2015 03:38 PM »
There's even one proposed mission that abuses the two accounting methods as good as they give. The AIDA successor AIM/DART. Essentially splitting the mission into a US-paid section with a fast kinetic interceptor (next to no instruments but pricy launcher) that NASA can put as low a price tag as possible on and a European-paid section with a slow orbiter on a standard bus (packed with instruments, but cheap launch) that ESA can put a low price tag as possible on. If the two were switched the nominal mission cost would probably roughly double.

The AIDA proposal appears to be funded outside of both NASA and ESA's science programs.  I haven't been able to determine if these are just proposals or are actually approved for flight.  If anyone here knows, I'd appreciate the information.

Offline kato

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #73 on: 04/05/2015 05:29 PM »
ESA funds AIDA to my knowledge so far primarily within the General Studies Programme, with some minor contributions from the Space Situational Awareness programme and outside funding from DLR MUSC and John Hopkins University. AIDA reached Phase A study (mission feasibility) in February this year, which is as far as GSP does studies.

The mission is apparently intended for approval by the ESA Science Program Committee as a Mission of Opportunity, which places it outside Cosmic Vision. With regard to downselect it should be noted that the project team brings up some known names in the field, including a SPC member.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #74 on: 04/11/2015 08:08 AM »
http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/04/10/nasa-invites-esa-to-build-europa-piggyback-probe/

NASA invites ESA to build Europa piggyback probe

Quote
ESA divides its robotic science missions into small, medium and large segments. Favata said the agency should pick finalists for its next medium-class science project — the M4 mission — in June after analyzing proposals submitted by research teams across Europe.

Once ESA managers decide which proposal will go forward — and how much it will cost — officials can plan when to start the next medium-class mission competition. If ESA concludes it is interested in partnering with NASA on the Europa mission, scientists could present concepts in the selection round for Europe’s M5 mission, according to Favata.

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #75 on: 06/04/2015 08:37 AM »
It's either Ariel, Thor or Xipe

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Three_candidates_for_ESA_s_next_medium-class_science_mission


Must be a blow to the Loft team not to be in the last 3...

Offline as58

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #76 on: 06/06/2015 12:04 PM »
Surprising that LOFT didn't get through, but maybe they thought that two X-ray missions in the final shortlist would've been too many, so they made a choise between XIPE and LOFT. As a personal opinion, I'd like to see something other that exoplanet missions for a change.

Offline Star One

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #77 on: 06/06/2015 10:08 PM »

Surprising that LOFT didn't get through, but maybe they thought that two X-ray missions in the final shortlist would've been too many, so they made a choise between XIPE and LOFT. As a personal opinion, I'd like to see something other that exoplanet missions for a change.

You talk as if we were inundated with active exoplanet missions. With Kepler not in the best of shape it's not like we have a glut of them up there the follow ons are still either being built or just exist on paper which is a worst position than X-Ray telescopes in space.

Online hop

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #78 on: 06/06/2015 11:04 PM »
You talk as if we were inundated with active exoplanet missions. With Kepler not in the best of shape it's not like we have a glut of them up there the follow ons are still either being built or just exist on paper which is a worst position than X-Ray telescopes in space.
PLATO was selected for M3, so ARIEL would make two M missions in a row for exoplanets. ESA will also fly CHEOPS between now and then, and NASA will fly TESS.

edit:
This wouldn't be a bad thing, they are all complimentary, but it's hard to argue exoplanets are being under-served.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2015 11:06 PM by hop »

Offline Star One

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #79 on: 06/07/2015 08:14 AM »

You talk as if we were inundated with active exoplanet missions. With Kepler not in the best of shape it's not like we have a glut of them up there the follow ons are still either being built or just exist on paper which is a worst position than X-Ray telescopes in space.
PLATO was selected for M3, so ARIEL would make two M missions in a row for exoplanets. ESA will also fly CHEOPS between now and then, and NASA will fly TESS.

edit:
This wouldn't be a bad thing, they are all complimentary, but it's hard to argue exoplanets are being under-served.

Well neither are X-Ray telescopes really that under served so they all things considered the point seems moot to me.

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #80 on: 06/07/2015 09:12 AM »
A big factor in the selection of missions is the strategic element. Europe has a decent sized and successful exoplanet community, but it consistently lost out in previous selection rounds and was especially hard hit by the cancellation of Eddington, and the shelving of Darwin exacerbated woes. Things were looking bleak for the exoplanet community in Europe, and to top it all it lost out in the L-class meaning no big mission for decades.

The recent S and M calls were really the last roll of the dice for ESA to maintain this key field. It's not hard to see that there is a lot of pressure to select them now.  It only feels like a lot is coming along now because ESA failed to support it earlier and let NASA push ahead.


Offline kato

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #81 on: 06/07/2015 09:55 AM »
This wouldn't be a bad thing, they are all complimentary, but it's hard to argue exoplanets are being under-served.
Don't forget ESPRESSO and CODEX at ESO, which further compliment that.

Offline Torbjorn Larsson, OM

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #82 on: 06/07/2015 02:19 PM »
A big factor in the selection of missions is the strategic element. Europe has a decent sized and successful exoplanet community, but it consistently lost out in previous selection rounds and was especially hard hit by the cancellation of Eddington, and the shelving of Darwin exacerbated woes. Things were looking bleak for the exoplanet community in Europe, and to top it all it lost out in the L-class meaning no big mission for decades.

The recent S and M calls were really the last roll of the dice for ESA to maintain this key field. It's not hard to see that there is a lot of pressure to select them now.  It only feels like a lot is coming along now because ESA failed to support it earlier and let NASA push ahead.

That was odd. [Disclaimer: I am chiefly interested in astrobiology, but have apparently not sufficiently kept up with ESA's plans.]

I was just scrolling through BBC's science reporter Amos's twitter as it was linked to under the discussion of Airbus's "Adeline" 1st stage engine reuse attempt, and below that he said:

"Jonathan Amos ‏@BBCAmos  4 jun
Exoplanets are cool and all, but is @esascience seriously considering yet another mission in this area? http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Three_candidates_for_ESA_s_next_medium-class_science_mission …"

[ https://twitter.com/BBCAmos/status/606417162551599104 ]

Seems there would be a need for putting a lot of effort into spreading that info around, if the BBC science coverage is slanted _against_ exoplanet efforts for, what it seems as when taken at face value, a misapprehension like the one described!
« Last Edit: 06/07/2015 02:24 PM by Torbjorn Larsson, OM »

Offline as58

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #83 on: 06/07/2015 04:17 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to start a war with my comment...

I know that exoplanet community was hard-hit by Eddington and Darwin cancellations, as well as that of SIM(Lite) and TPF in the US. But it's hardly the only subfield of astrophysics that has had these problems. On the X-ray side, GEMS was cancelled, LOFT has been trying the get approved for years, and while Xeus/IXO/Athena won L2 slot, it won't launch until late next decade. The last ESA high-energy astrophysics missions that I can think of are XMM-Newton (launched 1999) and Integral (2002). Between Integral and M4 ESA will have launched Corot (2006, with CNES), Gaia (2013), Cheops (2017), Euclid (2020), and Plato (2023) - three missions targeted for exoplanet research and two (Gaia and Euclid) that detect exoplanets, although it's not their main goal. So I would argue that X-ray astrophysics is more under-served.

And no, I don't work in high-energy astrophysics.

Offline kato

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #84 on: 06/07/2015 05:16 PM »
Based on exactly that "war" i'm giving Thor pretty good chances.

Offline Star One

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #85 on: 06/07/2015 06:27 PM »

Sorry, I didn't mean to start a war with my comment...

I know that exoplanet community was hard-hit by Eddington and Darwin cancellations, as well as that of SIM(Lite) and TPF in the US. But it's hardly the only subfield of astrophysics that has had these problems. On the X-ray side, GEMS was cancelled, LOFT has been trying the get approved for years, and while Xeus/IXO/Athena won L2 slot, it won't launch until late next decade. The last ESA high-energy astrophysics missions that I can think of are XMM-Newton (launched 1999) and Integral (2002). Between Integral and M4 ESA will have launched Corot (2006, with CNES), Gaia (2013), Cheops (2017), Euclid (2020), and Plato (2023) - three missions targeted for exoplanet research and two (Gaia and Euclid) that detect exoplanets, although it's not their main goal. So I would argue that X-ray astrophysics is more under-served.

And no, I don't work in high-energy astrophysics.

That is just the slack being taken up in the area of exoplanet research due to prior disinterest that's no argument against the choice of this mission now.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #86 on: 07/11/2015 01:09 PM »
THOR's web page: http://thor.irfu.se
« Last Edit: 07/11/2015 01:37 PM by bolun »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #87 on: 07/11/2015 01:58 PM »
Here's ARIEL's public page; not much on there yet but I think it's under construction.

http://ariel-spacemission.eu

Offline as58

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #88 on: 07/12/2015 03:35 PM »
To add to Alpha_Centauri's posts: the only public info about Xipe that I could find is this presentation from 2012.

http://webusers.fis.uniroma3.it/~agn10/file/muleri.pdf

I have no idea if the current mission proposal is different from the one described in the presentation.

I also found the Senior Science Committee recommendation letter on the webpage of one of the (unsuccessful) candidates:

http://eotvos.dm.unipi.it/ESAM4mission2015/SSCM4Recommendation.pdf

There's not really any new info, just some nice words about the three missions, but maybe you can try to read between the lines to find which one is the favourite.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #89 on: 07/25/2015 07:57 PM »
Announcement of the plans for the issuing of a Call for a Medium-size mission for launch in 2029-2030 (M5)

http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/56198-announcement-of-the-plans-for-the-issuing-of-a-call-for-a-medium-size-mission-for-launch-in-2029-2030-m5/

Quote
The current planning foresees the release of the M5 Call around the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. The Call is foreseen to solicit proposals for a mission with a cap to the ESA Cost at Completion of 550 M€. However, proposals with a cost below the above cap would be considered with no prejudice, both for stand-alone missions as for contributions to partner-led missions. Proposals whose cost to ESA would exceed the cap would be considered as non-feasible.

Quote
In preparation for the M5 Call the Executive would like to solicit the interest of the broad scientific community, encouraging the exploration of ideas covering all possible domains of science that can make use of a space platform, including disciplines that thus far have not considered this possibility. Such proposals would be welcome and considered with interest.

Quote
Medium-size missions are a key vehicle for international cooperation in the Science Programme of ESA. As such, proposals in response to the M5 Call in cooperation with other partners will be welcome.

Edit: I have changed the name of the thread.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 08:17 PM by bolun »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #90 on: 07/29/2015 09:11 PM »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA´s M-class Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 candidates
« Reply #91 on: 09/12/2015 11:43 AM »
To add to Alpha_Centauri's posts: the only public info about Xipe that I could find is this presentation from 2012.

http://webusers.fis.uniroma3.it/~agn10/file/muleri.pdf

I have no idea if the current mission proposal is different from the one described in the presentation.

I also found the Senior Science Committee recommendation letter on the webpage of one of the (unsuccessful) candidates:

http://eotvos.dm.unipi.it/ESAM4mission2015/SSCM4Recommendation.pdf

There's not really any new info, just some nice words about the three missions, but maybe you can try to read between the lines to find which one is the favourite.

Xipe's web page: http://www.isdc.unige.ch/xipe/index.php
« Last Edit: 09/12/2015 11:47 AM by bolun »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #92 on: 10/06/2015 08:27 AM »
Wow that's unusual, ESA has released the Phase 0 studies of the three finalists already;

http://sci.esa.int/future-missions-office/56560-phase-0-studies-completed-for-the-m4-cosmic-vision-candidate-missions/

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #93 on: 10/27/2015 08:44 AM »
http://sci.esa.int/future-missions-office/56680-three-new-studies-create-mission-proposal-opportunities/

Three new studies create mission proposal opportunities

Quote
Three mission assessment studies, of interest in the context of future calls for medium-size missions, are now available. The studies, into a cooled infrared telescope, a Jovian moon flyby mission, and an impactor on Europa, were carried out at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) at the request of ESA's Future Missions Office.

Quote
The scientific community is welcome to use these studies in preparation of possible proposals for future M mission opportunities.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2015 08:48 AM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #94 on: 04/30/2016 04:07 PM »
Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme (M5)

29 April 2016

Through this Call for Missions the Director of Science solicits from the broad scientific community proposals for the competitive selection of mission concepts to be candidate for the implementation of a medium-size, or M-class, mission (M5).

http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/57780-call-for-a-medium-size-mission-opportunity-in-esa-s-science-programme-m5/

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #95 on: 05/09/2017 02:21 AM »
And finally the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight for M4.

http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/59108-cosmic-vision-m4-candidate-missions-presentation-event/
Quote
COSMIC VISION M4 CANDIDATE MISSIONS: PRESENTATION EVENT

ARIEL, THOR, and XIPE, the three candidates for the M4 medium-class mission in ESA's Science Programme, will be presented to the science community at a special event in Paris on 3 July 2017...

...The mission concepts have completed their Assessment Phase study activities, and a recommendation about which concept should be carried forward for Definition Phase activities will be issued under the responsibility of the Advisory Structure to the ESA Science Programme. The present plan is to submit to the Science Programme Committee the proposal to select one mission in November 2017.

Large PDFs of the latest assessment reports;

ARIEL
https://www.cosmos.esa.int/documents/1365222/1365271/SCI-2017-2+ARIEL.pdf/7c64e5cc-60ff-7167-540d-6d008e6c3f64

THOR
https://www.cosmos.esa.int/documents/1365222/1365271/SCI-2017-3+THOR.pdf/4d30b982-3bb4-21c2-d733-34c6e77770f9

XIPE
https://www.cosmos.esa.int/documents/1365222/1365271/SCI-2017-4+XIPE.pdf/1943687e-4d31-af62-ab79-1b0e1445ef14
« Last Edit: 05/09/2017 10:27 AM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline redliox

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #96 on: 05/09/2017 04:41 PM »
Hmmm, not much for planetary exploration although ARIEL sounds exciting for exoplanet investigation.  All 3 sound like solid astronomy missions though.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline bolun

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #97 on: 06/20/2017 08:00 PM »
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gravitational_wave_mission_selected_planet-hunting_mission_moves_forward

Quote
Planet-hunter adopted

In the same meeting Plato – Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars – has now been adopted in the Science Programme, following its selection in February 2014.

This means it can move from a blueprint into construction. In the coming months industry will be asked to make bids to supply the spacecraft platform.

Following its launch in 2026, Plato will monitor thousands of bright stars over a large area of the sky, searching for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets cross in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight.

The mission will have a particular emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths orbiting Sun-like stars in the habitable zone – the distance from the star where liquid surface water could exist.

It will also investigate seismic activity in some of the host stars, and determine their masses, sizes and ages, helping to understand the entire exoplanet system.

Plato will operate from the ‘L2’ virtual point in space 1.5 million km beyond Earth as seen from the Sun.

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Re: ESA's M-class Cosmic Vision candidates
« Reply #98 on: 06/21/2017 01:53 PM »
Plato mission brings opportunities for UK space sector

A mission searching for habitable planets orbiting alien stars has been given the green light to move into the construction phase.

Plato (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) was adopted at the European Space Agency’s Science Programme Committee meeting today (20 June 2017), following its selection in February 2014. That means work to build the science instrument payload can begin and in the coming months industry will be invited to bid to ESA for the contract to supply the spacecraft.

The UK Space Agency is investing £25 million in the development of the novel scientific instruments on board.

Dr Katherine Wright, Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, said:

Investment in Plato builds on UK science and engineering strengths in this area and secures us a leading role on this pre-eminent space science mission for the next decade. Plato has the exciting potential to discover Earth-like planets around other stars, which may eventually lead to the detection of extra-terrestrial life.

Planned to launch in 2026, Plato will monitor thousands of relatively bright stars over a large area of the sky, searching for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets cross in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight.

Astronomers have so far found over 1,000 planets beyond our Solar System (exoplanets), but none as yet has been shown to be truly Earth-like in terms of its size and distance from a Sun similar to our own.

Plato’s innovative design is set to change all that. Its suite of multiple small telescopes and cameras, reminiscent of the compound eye of an insect, will allow it to ‘stare’ at a large number of the nearest and brightest stars, with the aim of discovering Earth-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars in the ‘habitable zone’ – the distance from the star where liquid water could exist at the surface.

This will allow them to be studied with unprecedented accuracy and assessed for their potential to host life. An important part of this investigation will be to perform an intricate study of the structure and properties of the host stars themselves, providing key complementary information needed for the proper characterisation of rocky Earth-like exoplanet worlds.

UK scientists and engineers in collaboration with the UK Space Agency are leading participants involved in all aspects of the mission. Prof Don Pollacco, of Warwick University, leads the Plato Science Management Consortium. Scientists and engineers at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory are responsible for the design and manufacture of the electronics for the camera system that sits behind the telescopes, and for characterising the camera detectors to optimise their performance.

The detectors are charge-coupled devices (CCDs), produced by the e2v company in Chelmsford under contract to ESA. A team of UK scientists, coordinated by Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, is also developing the Exoplanet Analysis data processing system on the ground.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plato-mission-brings-opportunities-for-uk-space-sector

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