ESA’s 'Cosmic Vision 2015-2025' workshop, held at UNESCO in Paris on 15-16 September 2004, showed that Europe is richer than ever in ideas for what should be done in space science in the coming years.
Scientists from across Europe brought together their papers outlining what they thought should be the major issues of space exploration a decade from now, on topics such as ‘Tracing the origin of the Solar System’, ‘The evolving violent Universe’ and ‘Other worlds and life in the Universe’.
This workshop was a major step forward in developing the vision of the future for Europe’s space science that will be presented by ESA’s Science Directorate next spring. ESA’s working groups are also working to identify the technology challenges, with the help of the ESA Advanced Concepts office.
Following endorsement by ESA’s Science Programme Committee in February 2005, the ‘Cosmic Vision 2015-2025’ document will be produced, laying out the targets for European space science for the decade 2015-2025.
Subsequently, once the financial framework is known, the European scientific community will be called upon to produce a plan, including concrete missions and mission scenarios, which will capture as much as possible of the range of scientific themes targeted.
ESA’s Director of Science, Prof. David Southwood, said: “Europe’s funding for space science has always been substantially less than the US but there can be little doubt from the last two days that Europe can claim intellectual parity and, with the right funding, can push back any frontier.”