Take part of planning the future of space missions – everyone has the opportunity!

The European Space Agency (ESA) invites everyone to share their views about what we should research in space, because planning for the space programme of 2035–2050 has started.

The tasks that will be undertaken are complex and long-term which is why the period of planning is also long. The current programme Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 has created some huge missions. The examples include GAIA, which is working on mapping the Milky Way, and ARIEL, that will be launched in 2028 and is dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of transiting exoplanets, enabling planetary science far beyond the boundaries of the Solar System.

What makes shaping of the new space programme Voyage 2050 extraordinary, is the fact that everyone can share their thoughts instead of only scientists doing so. A survey is open until the end of June. ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger said that the opinions of ESA's member states are very important, because ESA’s missions are funded by the states – and that means their citizens. The public consultation will encourage a sense of ownership and involvement.

Scientists are expected to participate in two ways. For the communities, fields and, of course, space agencies to join their competences and efforts, there is a Call for White Papers with the deadline of August 5, 2019. Young people are particularly encouraged to share their views, especially in the topical teams. The deadline for receipt of applications for Topical Team membership is May 6, 2019.

Director of the UT Tartu Observatory Anu Reinart and Senior Research Fellow Peeter Tenjes are the Estonian delegates in ESA’s Science Programme Committee.

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