2005 ESLAB Symposium

"Trends in Space Science and Cosmic Vision 2020"

ESTEC (Noordwijk, The Netherlands)
19-21 April 2005


European space science has really matured during the last decades. Astronomical observatories covering all regions from the infrared to gamma rays have been launched. A solar system exploration program has been put in place including comets, the Moon, Titan and Mars, with Venus and Mercury to come, as well as missions to study the Sun and its relation to our planet Earth. Finally, missions targeting the detection and observation of gravitational waves are being developed.

ESA's approach to the definition of the future Science Programme involves both direct discussions with the scientific community via its advisory structure and open, competitive calls for proposals. The missions currently in the programme were selected using this procedure and cover launches up to 2015. The definition of the program for the period 2015-2025 (Cosmic Vision 2020) is currently ongoing. This time the discussion started with scientific objectives or themes that will be followed later by the identification of specific missions to carry out the selected themes. In the process, technology developments have to be identified together with possibilities for international cooperation. The themes for Cosmic Vision 2020 were presented in a preliminary form during a workshop held in Paris in September 2004. Activities are ongoing to prepare a final proposal in the form of a report to be widely distributed to the scientific community. This symposium will look at a more developed picture.

As an example of the initial recommendations, in the area of solar system exploration, research could be undertaken on the 3-D solar magnetic field as well as the space plasma processes that occur on a hierarchy of scales in the terrestrial and Jovian magnetospheres. The giant planets and particularly their moons, together with sample return missions or subsurface measurements in minor bodies or Mars are also possible areas for future missions. In the area of space astronomy topics include the study of extrasolar planets, their discovery, formation mechanisms and characterization, a deeper understanding of the very beginning of the Universe, as well as its lesser known constituents such as dark matter and dark energy, and the evolving high-energy elements of it, such as the environment of black holes, their structure and their role in structure of the Universe. Finally, in the area of fundamental physics from space, attention is being focused on quantum gravity, matter in the form of Bose-Einstein condensates and more sensitive gravitational wave detectors leading eventually to the measurement of primordial gravitational waves.

The Symposium

This symposium is an invitation to the wider scientific community to present and discuss in depth the science topics which constitute the broad themes mentioned above. The program will include a number of invited talks, which will give an overview of the science themes, plus a number of contributed talks. Contributions are solicited on all topics of interest to the Cosmic Vision 2020 program, focusing on the scientific aspects. A formal call for abstracts will be circulated early in 2005, together with a preliminary program including a list of invited speakers. A limited number of contributions will be selected by the SOC for oral presentation, and ample space for poster papers will be available. The conference proceedings, containing all the contributions, will be published as a volume in the ESA-SP series.

Scientific Organizing Committee:

Alvaro Giménez (ESA/ESTEC - chair),
Risto Pellinen (Finnish Meteorological Institute)
Giovanni Bignami (CESR)
Catherine Turon, (Obs. Paris Meudon)
Bernard Schutz (MPI for Gravitational Physics)
Peter Cargill (Imperial College)
Fabio Favata (ESA/ESTEC)

Local Organizing Committee:

C. Bingham
F. Favata
J. Sanz-Forcada