Science is the underpinning theme of ESA, it is in our DNA linking all our activities. Science is at heart of the process that sees discoveries turned into technological innovation, leading in turn to new scientific results that go on to even more innovation. X-ray medicine would not have been possible without our knowledge of atoms and radioactivity. Likewise, modern ultra-precise navigation from space would not be possible without our understanding of general relativity. Science is the driver of prospering knowledge-based societies. And science, in particular Space Science, also attracts the best young talent to keep this process going.
ESA’s Science Programme aims at providing the European scientific community with the best tools to maintain and extend its global leadership. The Rosetta and Philae landings on Comet 67P, LISA Pathfinder, the first space mission for gravitational wave astronomy, and the high-precision astronomy from Gaia, are just some of the world firsts achieved by ESA’s Space Science.
However, most of these world-class missions had been prepared two decades ago, with a substantially higher funding compared to what was available especially in the last decade, which saw an erosion of funding. In order to maintain Europe’s global leadership, ESA’s Science Programme is asking for a substantial rise in funding of 20% at Space19+. This will allow us to operate Athena and LISA simultaneously, to study the electromagnetic and gravitational ‘footprint’ of black hole mergers to learn how the Universe evolved. It would also allow us to send a mission to the ‘ice giants’, the planets Neptune and Uranus, to understand not only our Solar System, but also the evolution of other star systems, and potentially find more ‘Earth’ type planets.
Facts and figures about this proposal [ Download PDF ]