The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a call for mission ideas to develop a new satellite mission that advances the scientific understanding of Earth and shows how new technologies can be used in space. The mission’s goal is to provide answers and insights on societal issues that humankind will face in the coming decades such as the availability of food, water, energy resources, as well as health and climate change.
The call aims at collecting ideas for developing ESA’s 11th Earth Explorer mission, which will be launched in 2031-2032. To date, there are nine Earth Explorers. The GOCE mission, which was successfully completed in 2013, mapped variations in Earth’s gravity. Four missions are currently in operation and include the CryoSat, SMOS, Swarm, and Aeolus mission, which provide information about the Earth’s cryosphere, soil moisture and ocean salinity, the magnetic field and atmospheric circulation, respectively. The other four missions are currently being built, such as 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.
Scientists working in Earth observation who are interested in participating should submit a letter of intent by 18 September 2020. Participants will attend a workshop on 5 October 2020 to learn about the proposal guidelines. The deadline for submitting the final proposal is 4 December 2020 at noon European time.
For more information about the Call and how to submit letters of intent, visit the ESA’s Earth Observation Proposal System.