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.
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.
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.
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.
Result of Cosmic Vision M-class mission down-selectionESA 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.intExpected date: 19–20 February
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.
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
Plato planet-hunter in pole positionA telescope to find thousands of planets beyond our Solar System is the hot favourite for selection as Europe's next medium-class science mission.
The final slides that were presented are here: http://t.co/fZ50cniXfsOn my tablet, so please feel free to download and attach properly as I don't seem able to on this device:-/--- TonyEDIT: 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