The Herschel and Planck AAAF Grand Prix 2010 award ceremony
Science & Exploration

Herschel and Planck win the French Grand Prix

10/06/2010 1082 views 0 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Herschel

Yesterday in Paris, ESA’s Herschel and Planck science missions were honoured by the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics. The association’s Grand Prix 2010 award for “outstanding space endeavours” was bestowed upon these groundbreaking missions.

Every year, the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAAF) dedicates awards to those who have demonstrated true success and made significant advances. This year, the teams responsible for ESA’s Herschel and Planck missions have been honoured by the AAAF jury.

Herschel and Rosette Nebula
Herschel and Rosette Nebula

To receive this award, which recognises more than 20 years of work in research and development in bringing these outstanding missions to fruition, ESA officials gathered at the Salons de l’Aéro-Club de France, Paris, on 9 June 2010 at 17.00 CEST.

The Herschel and Planck spacecraft are giant leaps forward in science and engineering. “As with any great engineering project, it was a challenge not only to ESA’s scientific and technical staff, and scientific teams across Europe but also to teams from industry across Europe led by Thales Alenia Space who took on the prime engineering task a decade ago,” says David Southwood, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at ESA. “It has been a great adventure for everyone involved with heights of great elation but also plenty of the nightmares that implementing cutting-edge technology can always throw up. Now the proof of the quality of the work and the worth of the effort is in the tremendous new science now emerging from the two missions.”

Herschel and Planck win the AAAF Grand Prix 2010 award
Herschel and Planck win the AAAF Grand Prix 2010 award

Herschel is an infrared space observatory fully four times larger than any other infrared space telescope previously launched, and 1.5 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. It is studying the coldest parts of the Universe, searching for otherwise hidden examples of forming stars, planets and galaxies.

Planck is studying the ‘echo’ of the Big Bang, mapping the subtle ripples in the microwaves that bathe space. The instruments are so precise Planck is expected to take the best pictures that are physically possible of this microwave radiation.

"Planck is being operated and its data processed by large teams of engineers and scientists. This team award is very much appreciated by all the individuals and the organisations they represent," says Jan Tauber, Project Scientist for Planck at ESA.

Artist's impression of the Planck spacecraft
Artist's impression of the Planck spacecraft

Scientists recently gathered at ESA’s ESTEC centre in the Netherlands, filling a week-long conference with back-to-back talks on the scientific results that have come from Herschel’s first year in orbit.

The first images of the whole sky as seen by Planck are due for release in the coming weeks, and the mission has already revealed extraordinary filaments of dust threading through our own Galaxy.

This is just the beginning for Herschel and Planck. Both missions will run for several more years. Even after they retire, the analysis will continue. It will take decades to extract all of the scientific juice from these observational fruits.

“These two extraordinary missions are set to revolutionise our view of the far-infrared and millimetre wavelength sky, combining to yield important new results about baby stars and planets still forming today in the Milky Way, and stretching all the way back to the birth of the Universe itself, more than 13 billion years ago,” says Mark McCaughrean, Head of the Research and Scientific Support Department at ESA.

Related Links

Science & Exploration

Notes to editors

06/05/2010 556 views 0 likes
Read
Science & Exploration

Other Herschel First Science Stories

01/01/1970 854 views
Open item
Fomalhaut and dust disc
Science & Exploration

Herschel spots comet massacre around nearby star

11/04/2012 3011 views 6 likes
Read
Baby stars in Orion Nebula
Science & Exploration

Fledgling stars flicker in the heart of Orion

29/02/2012 2756 views 3 likes
Read
Stunning new Herschel and XMM-Newton image of the Eagle Nebula
Science & Exploration

A New View of an Icon

17/01/2012 8717 views 5 likes
Read
The Herschel and Planck AAAF Grand Prix 2010 award ceremony
Science & Exploration

Herschel and Planck win the French Grand Prix

10/06/2010 1082 views 0 likes
Read
NGC 1999: Truly a hole in space.
Science & Exploration

Herschel finds a hole in space

11/05/2010 8466 views 29 likes
Read
The Galactic bubble RCW 120
Science & Exploration

Herschel reveals the hidden side of star birth

06/05/2010 3072 views 5 likes
Read
The CB244 dark globule
Science & Exploration

Herschel takes the temperature of an interstellar cloud

06/05/2010 1987 views 2 likes
Read
Herschel and Rosette Nebula
Science & Exploration

Tracing the Milky Way’s hidden reservoirs of gas

06/05/2010 873 views 3 likes
Read
Previously unseen galaxies revealed to ESA's Herschel
Science & Exploration

Herschel resolves the cosmic infrared fog

06/05/2010 836 views 0 likes
Read
The Rosette molecular cloud, seen by Herschel
Science & Exploration

Baby stars in the Rosette cloud

12/04/2010 4060 views 8 likes
Read
Inside the dark heart of the Eagle
Science & Exploration

Inside the dark heart of the Eagle

16/12/2009 2739 views 3 likes
Read
Reservoir of cold gas in the constellation of the Southern Cross
Science & Exploration

Herschel views deep-space pearls on a cosmic string

02/10/2009 2399 views 3 likes
Read
Herschel and Planck
Science & Exploration

Herschel and Planck pass in-orbit 'exam'

24/07/2009 909 views 0 likes
Read
Science & Exploration

Herschel images promise bright future

10/07/2009 2258 views 0 likes
Read
Herschel's test view of M51
Science & Exploration

Herschel’s daring test: a glimpse of things to come

19/06/2009 3405 views 6 likes
Read
Artist concept of the Herschel spacecraft
Science & Exploration

Herschel cryocover is open

15/06/2009 954 views 0 likes
Read
ISO: Infrared Space Observatory
Agency

Observations: Seeing in infrared wavelengths

2654 views 4 likes
Read
Cold comfort for newborn stars - ISO unmasks the icy veil around the Eagle's fiery heart
Science & Exploration

Why infrared astronomy is a hot topic

11/09/2003 3828 views 5 likes
Read
Location of Lagrangian point (L2)
Science & Exploration

L2, the second Lagrangian Point

18580 views 57 likes
Read