ESA's solar system missions to get star billing in Nice
19 March 2001Geophysicists attending next week's General Assembly of the European Geophysical Society in Nice won't just be discussing the latest scientific research about the Earth. They will also be turning their attention to other bodies within our solar system and the missions Europe is sending to explore them.
A full scientific programme for the Assembly, which is being held at the Nice Acropolis on 26-31 March, can be found at:
Here are some of the highlights featuring ESA's space science programme.
- At 10.45am on Monday 26 March, Roger Bonnet, Director of the ESA Science Programme will talk on "Space Science and Exploration in the 21st Century". Professor Bonnet is to be awarded an EGS Fellowship Medal "for his authoritative and wide-ranging support of the space sciences putting Europe at the forefront of Solar System exploration".
- At 19.45 on Tuesday 27 March, David Southwood, Director-Designate of the ESA Science Programme will talk on "The future of the European space science programme".
- The latest results from Ulysses, ESA's spacecraft which is exploring the regions above the Sun's poles, will be presented in a session on "the 3D heliosphere during the solar magnetic field reversal".
- ESA's SOHO spacecraft, which is observing the Sun, will also feature prominently in at least five sessions where more than 40 relevant papers will be presented and there will be at least one talk on ESA's plans for the future Solar Orbiter.
- Two whole days of talks will be devoted to Mercury, in particular ESA's future cornerstone mission to the planet, BepiColombo.
- Mars Express, Europe's mission to Mars in 2003, will be the subject of a whole day of talks. Each Principal Investigator on the orbiter and lander will talk about the science his or her instrument will perform and how it will contribute to an increase in knowledge about Mars. Europe's other involvement in the international Mars exploration programme will also be discussed, including plans for a Mars micromission and a Marskite. Some of the latest results from NASA's Mars Global Surveryor will be presented, as will the latest controversial findings about fossilised life on Mars meteorites.
- Most of the data collected during the recent Jupiter observation campaign by the Cassini and Galileo spacecraft will be presented for the first time. Supporting Hubble and ground based observations will also be discussed . During last autumn and early this year, the two spacecraft have been simultaneously observing the environment inside and outside the Jovian magnetosphere. Europe has considerable involvement in the experiments on board Cassini and the new observations represent the next significant European participation in exploring the giant planet. Ulysses flew by Jupiter in February 1992, making ground-breaking observations of the planet's magnetosphere. Another dedicated session will discuss future perspectives for Titan exploration, especially from ESA's Huygens probe.
- The first results from Cluster, ESA's mission to explore the Earth's magnetosphere and its interaction with the solar wind, will be presented. The two-day Cluster session will include more than 80 papers and posters by scientists from all over Europe. The programme will include the first detailed analysis of data from the 42 identical instruments flown on the Cluster quartet. The session will also include results from the first ever multi-spacecraft crossings of the polar cusps and the magnetopause, as well as analysis of coordinated observations involving both Cluster and ground-based instruments.
- ESA's Rosetta mission, one of the Cornerstones of the agency's long-term science programme, will be discussed during the EGS session on "Comets, asteroids, meteorites and dust". Rosetta will make history by becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and deploy a lander on its surface. Several papers will be presented on the lander and the exciting science that will be undertaken during Rosetta's 11-year space odyssey.