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.
Athena is an ESA-led X-ray observatory mission including contributions from NASA, selected to address ESA’s Cosmic Vision theme, “The Hot and Energetic Universe."
By combining a large X-ray telescope with state-of-the-art scientific instruments, Athena will address key questions in astrophysics: 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 surrounding black holes and trapped in clusters of galaxies, the magnetic interplay between exoplanets and their parent stars, Jupiter's auroras and comets in our own Solar System.
2022 Athena expected to be adopted by ESA, allowing construction to begin
LISA is an ESA-led gravitational-wave observatory mission including contributions from NASA, selected to address ESA’s Cosmic Vision theme, "The Gravitational Universe."
LISA will consist of three spacecraft in a triangular formation orbiting the Sun, separated from each other by 2.5 million kilometers and trailing the Earth by approximately 60 million kilometers as we orbit the Sun. These three spacecraft continuously exchange laser beams between one other to monitor for distortions in space-time caused by passing gravitational wave signals.
A space-based observatory can detect gravitational waves with frequencies from 1 mHz to 1 Hz, far below the frequencies of waves now observed from Earth-based interferometers like LIGO and Virgo. Many types of sources are expected in this frequency band including: merging black holes millions of times more massive than the Sun, smaller compact bodies (including regular stars, neutron stars, and stellar black holes), early in their binary orbits, and extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (EMRIs)—small bodies inspiraling into massive black holes.
2017 LISA Mission Selected as Large-Class Mission in ESA’s Cosmic Visions Programme
2024 LISA ‘Adopted’ by ESA, mission design complete, roles and responsibilities for all partners established.
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
14 July 2021
ROSES Strategic Astrophysics Technology opportunity will focus on Astro2020 Recommendations. » Details.
4 June 2021
ROSES-2021 Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM) DRAFT Text Released » Details.
6 May 2021
NASA Science Mission Directorate Seeks Volunteer Reviewers for Research Proposals. » Details.