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Four mission ideas to compete for Earth Explorer 11

Written by  Thursday, 10 June 2021 09:20
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Towards Earth Explorer 11

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.

This important milestone follows a Call for Earth Explorer 11 mission ideas, which ESA released just over a year ago. Out of the 15 proposals submitted, ESA’s Advisory Committee for Earth Observation, ACEO, recommended that these four mission ideas should go forward for study.

Today, ESA’s Programme Board for Earth Observation accepted the Committee’s recommendation.

Our planet works as a complex system that involves considerable natural variability, but human activity is taking its toll on many of these natural processes. However, there remains much we don’t understand about the interactions that bind the Earth system as a whole.

Earth Explorers are built to demonstrate new space technology and provide answers to key scientific questions – not just for academic gain, but also to help address societal issues that humankind will face in the coming decades such as the availability of food, water, energy and resources, as well as health and climate change.

ESA’s Acting Director of Earth Observation, Toni-Tolker Nielsen, said, “Earth Explorers are Europe’s flagship research missions and are at the heart of our FutureEO programme. For those already launched, they all continue to return remarkable scientific results and, without exception, have all gone way beyond their original objectives. It is vital we continue developing, building and launching these exceptional missions to further knowledge and prove new technology. We are therefore thrilled to announce that Cairt, Nitrosat, Seastar and Wivern – are entering the pre-feasibility phase, eventually culminating in one being our eleventh Earth Explorer.”

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