Euclid is an ESA-led mission to map the geometry of the dark Universe. Using two cosmological probes—weak lensing and baryonic acoustic oscillations—in a wide-field survey, Euclid will precisely measure the growth of large-scale structure and the expansion history of the Universe.
By combining a large X-ray telescope with state-of-the-art scientific instruments, Athena will address key questions in astrophysics, including: how and why does ordinary matter assemble into the galaxies and galactic clusters that we see today? How do black holes grow and influence their surroundings?
Athena's powerful instruments will also allow unprecedented studies of a wide range of astronomical phenomena. These include distant gamma-ray bursts, the hot gas found in the space around clusters of galaxies, the magnetic interplay between exoplanets and their parent stars, Jupiter's auroras and comets in our own Solar System.
Athena is also a powerful, general-purpose observatory, able to address a wide range of current astrophysical topics.
At the June 2014 meeting of ESA's Science Programme Committee, Athena was selected as the mission for the 2nd Large mission opportunity, satisfying the Cosmic Vision theme the "Hot and Energetic Universe." Now, Athena moves into a study phase. Once the mission design and costing have been completed, it will eventually be proposed for 'adoption' in around 2019, before the start of construction.
In response to the call of the European Space Agency (ESA) for L3 mission concepts, the LISA Mission consortium submitted a proposal for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) on 13th January 2017.
NASA Mission Study: https://lisa.nasa.gov/
ESA Mission Page: http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/53259-esas-new-vision-to-study-the-invisible-universe/
The following missions are part of the Explorer Program, but their science is closely related to the Physics of the Cosmos Theme.
The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will exploit the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes. IXPE will improve sensitivity over OSO-8, the only previous X-ray polarimeter, by two orders of magnitude in required exposure time. IXPE also will introduce the capability for X-ray polarimetric imaging, uniquely enabling the measurement of X-ray polarization with scientifically meaningful spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution, to address NASA's Science Mission Directorate's science goal "to probe the origin and destiny of our universe, including the nature of black holes, dark energy, dark matter, and gravity."
Through high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy, XRISM will transform our understanding of the hot and energetic universe, allowing ground-breaking new scientific research into black holes, clusters of galaxies, compact objects, and the aftermath of stellar explosions. XRISM is a JAXA/NASA collaborative mission with ESA participation, and contains two instruments: Resolve—a microcalorimeter spectrometer, providing < 7 eV spectral resolution over the 0.4–12 keV bandpass, and Xtend—a wide field CCD X-ray imager with a 38'x38' field of view. XRISM is scheduled for launch in fall 2022 on a Japanese HII-A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center.
Program News and Announcements