Today, ESA is releasing an opportunity for scientists from the Earth Observation communities in ESA Member States and Canada to submit proposals for ideas to be assessed for the next in the series of Earth Explorer Core Missions.
The biggest environmental issue we currently face is global change, which encompasses not only climate change but also the large-scale impact that a growing global population and continued economic growth are having on the Earth and its environment.
For example, global warming, pollution, land degradation, drought and floods name but a few of the issues that are at the forefront of public concern. Moreover, the consequences of human activity are far-reaching and extremely complex, which means there is a pressing need to further our understanding of how the Earth system functions and responds to the ever-increasing pressure that is being put upon it.
Continued monitoring of the Earth from space is vital if we are to improve our understanding and advance the computer models that predict what will happen given the current trends - so that the appropriate steps can be taken to secure our future.
As part of ESA's Living Planet Programme, the Earth Explorer series of satellites are designed to address critical environmental issues and, as such, are an important contribution to the global endeavour to further our understanding of the Earth.
To date, six missions have already been selected for implementation, namely three Earth Explorer Core Missions – GOCE (Gravity and Ocean Circulation Explorer), ADM-Aeolus (Atmospheric Dynamics Mission), and EarthCARE (Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer); and three Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions – CryoSat (Polar Ice Monitoring), SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and Swarm (Earth's Magnetic Field and Environment Explorer). Selected in 1999, CryoSat will be the first Explorer to launch, with lift-off scheduled for the end of July of this year.
ESA is releasing the current Call for Ideas with the intention to involve the scientific community as far as possible in determining the issues to address with the next in the series of Earth Explorer satellites. There are four scientific priority areas for this Call - the global water cycle, the global carbon cycle, atmospheric chemistry and climate, and the crosscutting human element in the Earth system. The ceiling cost for Earth Explorer Core Missions is 300 MEURO.
For those wishing to submit mission ideas please register as soon as possible at the Earth Observation Proposal Upload System (EOPUS) at http://explorercall.esa.int.
There are also links to the system directly from the Living Planet Programme website http://www.esa.int/livingplanet. The system will guide you through the process of registering, uploading a Letter of Intent and finally your Proposal. The deadline for submitting the Letter of Intent is 30 April 2005 and the deadline for submission of the final Proposal is 15 July 2005.