France: Scientists from all over Europe will gather in Graz, Austria, in March this year, to scrutinise three innovative satellite concepts. One will then be chosen as ESA’s seventh Earth Explorer.
Using breakthrough technology, the series of Earth Explorer satellites is designed to advance science by exploring different aspects of earth. Together, these missions are improving our understanding of the complex interactions between earth’s different components and how human activity is affecting natural processes.
Three missions have already been selected, and are in orbit, and another three are on the road to launch. The next User Consultation Meeting will be held on 5–6 March.
During this meeting, the scientific community will debate the merits of three new mission concepts – each of which promises to deliver novel information on how our planet works.
The philosophy of developing Earth Explorer missions centres on the involvement of the scientific community from the very beginning of a mission’s life. Being proposed by the scientific community and realised through the user-driven selection process ensures that this series of state-of-the-art missions addresses the most urgent earth science questions of our time.
ESA said the Swarm magnetic field mission is set to be launched this year, followed by the ADM-Aeolus and EarthCARE missions. Currently, GOCE gravity mission, the SMOS water mission, and CryoSat ice mission are making contributions to science as a result of the programme.
The three concepts due to be discussed during the event include Biomass, CoReH2O, and PREMIER . These missions have already undergone extensive feasibility studies to demonstrate their value to science, and technological viability.