In DepthSpace Science

Europe dreams big for future space missions

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6464, pp. 410
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6464.410

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

European space scientists' most ambitious dreams are about to meet reality. Earlier this year, a committee was tasked by the European Space Agency (ESA) to ask space scientists to pitch research themes for Voyage 2050, a 20-year program of missions beginning in 2035. It received almost 100 proposals, among them are scientific goals that would require an orbiting radio telescope the size of several city blocks, a fleet of formation-flying telescopes to study exoplanets, and a mission to bring back samples from Venus. Next week, scientists will gather in Madrid for a workshop to debate the merits of the ideas, after which the committee will spend about 1 year choosing which themes to recommend to ESA for the program. Constraining those ambitions is ESA's science budget, which has been flat for the past couple of decades. Next month, government ministers from ESA's 22 member nations will meet in Seville, Spain, to hash out the agency's budget for the next 5 years or so, and the science directorate is asking for a funding boost of between 10% and 20%.

View Full Text