As a critical input to the decision-making process that will lead to the selection of ESA’s eighth Earth Explorer mission, the Reports for Mission Selection of the two candidate opportunity missions – CarbonSat and FLEX – are now available.
The selection will take place following a User Consultation Meeting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland on 15–16 September 2015, where the Earth observation scientific community is invited to participate.
In preparation for the selection, reports presenting the scientific and technical ambition of each mission were prepared. Following the consultation with the scientific community in September, the Earth Science Advisory Committee will provide their recommendations to ESA. The final decision on selection will be taken by ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation.
The CarbonSat mission aims to determine the global distribution of two of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: carbon dioxide and methane. Data from the mission would lead to a better understanding of the sources and sinks of these two gases and how they are linked to climate change.
The Fluorescence Explorer mission, FLEX, aims to provide global maps of vegetation fluorescence, which can be converted into an indicator of actual photosynthetic activity. These data would provide information on plant health and stress, thereby improving our understanding of the global carbon cycle and supporting food security. The FLEX satellite would orbit in tandem with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites.