8 February 2001CfA Colloquium

Title: European Space Science in the 21st Century

Speaker: Martin C.E. Huber

Abstract: The European Space Agency, ESA, has recently taken exciting steps in its journey to explore the origins of the Universe and the fundamental laws that govern it. A brief introduction will be given to the scientific motivation and the progress in instrumentation that led to this new program and its implementation.

New missions include 'BepiColombo', a mission to Mercury; LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna; and the stereoscopic galactic census, GAIA. One of the questions the multi-disciplinary 'BepiColombo' mission will explore is that of the anomalously high density of Mercury. LISA will detect and observe gravitational waves from continuously radiating sources, thus opening a wholly new window on the Universe that will give insights into the strong-field regime of general relativity. GAIA, will top the accuracy of the Hipparcos measurements by a factor of a hundred on a billion stars to give deeper insights into the composition, formation, and evolution of the Galaxy. ESA also decided to send a Solar Orbiter diving down into the heliosphere to explore the uncharted innermost regions of our solar system.

Other projects now beyond the dreaming stage are 'Eddington', a mission to map stellar evolution through oscillations and to find habitable planets, and XEUS, the X-ray Evolving-Universe Spectroscopy telescope that will be 'grown' in orbit. HYPER will aim at probing the foundations of physics by hyper-precision cold-atom-beam interferometry in space.

Reference for students:

The Wolbach Library has a binder containing the following brochures on the Course Reserve Shelf. You can also access most of these reports through URL: http://sci.esa.int/content/doc/28/24360_.htm. Longer Study Reports for these missions are also in the Wolbach Library. Search HOLLIS using command "fi kts ESA and kts 2000" for a list of holdings.

ESA BR-165 (Sepember2000): BepiColombo, Interdisciplinary Mission to Mercury

ESA BR-163 (August 2000): GAIA, Composition, Formation and Evolution of the Galaxy: Two Mission Summaries/Cornerstone Study Results:

* LISA: Detecting and Observing Gravitational Waves, and

* Darwin: Studying Earth-like Planets

ESA BR-164 (August 2000): a folder containing the mission summaries of

* Eddington: A mission to map stellar evolution through oscillations and to find habitable planets,

* HYPER: Hyper-precision cold atom interferometry in space,

* NGST: Observing the first light in the Universe, and

* Solar Orbiter: A high-resolution mission to the Sun and inner heliosphere.

ESA SP-1238 (March 2000): X-ray Evolving-Universe Spectroscopy, The XEUS Science Case

ESA BR-158 (July 2000): [Herschel]-FIRST, Exploring the Formation of Galaxies and Stars

ESA BR-159 (July 2000): PLANCK, A mission to understand the origin and evolution of our Universe

Lunch with the students will be on Friday, February 9th at 12:00 in A-101.