As part of ESA’s commitment to develop and build satellite missions that push the boundaries of satellite technology and Earth science, four new mission ideas – Cairt, Nitrosat, Seastar and Wivern – have been selected to enter pre-feasibility study and compete to be the eleventh Earth Explorer mission.
Cairt – short for changing-atmosphere infrared tomography – would provide the measurements needed to make a necessary step change in understanding the links between climate change, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics in the altitude range of about 5 to 120 km. It would focus on the processes that couple atmospheric circulation, composition and regional climate change, providing critical observations not available from existing or planned satellite missions. Cairt would be the first limb-sounder with imaging Fourier-transform infrared technology in space.
Pre-feasibility studies will start in due course, after which further down-selections will be made in 2023 and 2025, with a view to launching the successful Earth Explorer 11 mission in 2031–2032.
The Agency has now opened a call for membership to the four respective Mission Advisory Groups (MAGs). These groups will be established after summer to advise ESA on the respective mission concepts. Mission Advisory Groups play an active role in providing advice on activities supporting the scientific definition and preparation of the mission concept during consolidation and preparation of the mission requirements.
The Call is open to scientific experts with relevant scientific or technical expertise, with nationality and residence in one of the 22 ESA Member States.
The strict deadline for submission of applications is 5th July 2021, 12:00 (noon) CEST. Early registration is encouraged.
Further information on the mission candidates and the role and terms of reference of the MAGs is provided on the Call website: https://missionadvice.esa.int/