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Projects: Future Missions

Euclid Euclid
Launch date: Scheduled 2020

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.

NASA Project Page: http://euclid.caltech.edu/
ESA Project Page: http://sci.esa.int/euclid/
Euclid consortium page: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/euclid/

ATHENA Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA)
Launch date: Scheduled 2028

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.

NASA Mission Study: https://pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov/studies/athena/
ESA Mission Page: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/athena

Launch date: Scheduled 2034

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://pcos.gsfc.nasa.gov/studies/L3/
ESA Mission Page: http://sci.esa.int/cosmic-vision/53259-esas-new-vision-to-study-the-invisible-universe/

Related Future Missions


The Cosmic-Ray Energetics and Mass investigation, known as CREAM, places a highly successful balloon-borne instrument aboard the International Space Station where it gathers an order of magnitude (10 times) more data, which has lower background interference because Earth's atmosphere is no longer interfering. CREAM's instruments measure the charges of cosmic rays ranging from hydrogen up through iron nuclei, over a broad energy range. The modified balloon instrument is carried aloft on a Space X Dragon Lab cargo supply mission and placed on the Japanese Exposed Module for a period of at least three years.

IXPE Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)
Launch date: 11/2020

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."

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  • NASA Official: Phil Newman
  • Web Curator: Pat Tyler
Goddard Space Flight Center