The European Space Agency has called for new mission ideas: the ‘Call’ invites scientists, working in Earth observation to submit ideas for ESA’s 11th Earth Explorer mission.
Earth Explorer missions are built in response to the needs of a scientific community who want to understand different aspects of the Earth system and the interactions that bind it.
The new mission will address issues including the supply of food, water, energy and resources, as well as health and climate change.
So far, nine Earth Explorers have been selected for implementation.
The successfully completed GOCE mission mapped variations in Earth’s gravity whilst CryoSat, SMOS, Swarm and Aeolus, are providing new insight into the Earth’s cryosphere, soil moisture and ocean salinity, the magnetic field and atmospheric circulation, respectively.
Four missions currently being built are: EarthCARE to provide information on the effect of clouds and aerosols on Earth’s radiation budget, Biomass to measure forest carbon, FLEX to study plant photosynthesis and FORUM to understand the infrared energy emitted by Earth.
In addition, three candidates for Earth Explorer 10 are currently being studied, and four Scout candidate missions are undergoing system consolidation studies.
ESA has decided that now is the time to plan the eleventh Earth Explorer, which should be launched in 2031–2032.
Upon the official release of the Call on Monday 25 May, the procedure for submitting an initial idea for this future mission begins with a letter of intent, which must be received by 18 September 2020.
This will be followed with a workshop with Proposers on 5 October 2020 to explain the proposal guidelines.
The deadline for submitting the final proposal is 4 December 2020 at noon European time.