Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Europe determines a grand plan for astronomy

16.06.2008
Priorities for future astronomy projects to be discussed at Liverpool ASTRONET Symposium (16-19 June 2008)

The long-term future of European ground-based and spaced-based astronomy will be debated at the ASTRONET Symposium in Liverpool between 16 and 19 June 2008.

The Symposium will help to determine if Europe will be able to retain its position as world leader in astronomical research and space exploration by establishing a realistic plan for the required funds and infrastructures for the necessary scientific advances to be made.

The ASTRONET Symposium, organised by Liverpool John Moores University – currently ranked in the top 1% of institutions worldwide for its space science research* – marks a crucial stage in the pan-European ASTRONET initiative.

Over 300 of Europe’s leading astronomers are travelling to Liverpool to debate and refine the content of key recommendations of the ‘Road Map to the Stars’. Many of the projects highlighted are crucial for maintaining European leadership in key areas of astronomy and their timely implementation is of paramount importance.

Large-scale ground-based projects, such as the European Extremely Large Telescope or the Square Kilometre Array, are all under scrutiny. As are proposed space missions to Mars, Saturn’s satellites Titan and Enceladus and Jupiter’s satellite Europa, to investigate such crucial questions as the likelihood of extraterrestrial life.

Established by a consortium of European science agencies in 2005, including the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), ASTRONET was set up to help devise a priority list of space missions and ground-based facilities to be developed over the next two decades, along with the necessary human resources and new cooperative arrangements. In addition, the further enhancement of the impact of astronomy on public appreciation of science and science education has been taken up within ASTRONET's remit.

Once agreed, the Road Map will act as blueprint for Europe's ongoing exploration of the Universe over the next 20 years, guiding all major astronomical research and development.

Mike Bode, LJMU’s Professor of Astrophysics, who has led the ASTRONET Road Map project since 2006, said:

“Europe already has some of the most advanced and capable observational facilities together with some of the World’s most talented scientists and engineers. This gives us an enviable platform from which to build as we seek answers to some of the most fundamental questions in science.

“New facilities will enable us to understand such things as the nature of the so-called Dark Matter and Dark Energy that make the bulk of the Universe and also to determine if there is other life ‘out there’. Such discoveries would be a major breakthrough for humankind. However, there is tremendous competition from outside Europe and to maintain our lead we need to push ahead with developing state-of-the-art facilities in a timely and coherent fashion.

ASTRONET Board Chair, Johannes Andersen, Director of the Nordic Optical Telescope on La Palma, added:

“In order for us to progress, Europe needs to make a step change in its capabilities and get its act together to foster even greater pan-European collaboration. Now is the time to choose world-class scientific eminence over cherished, but obsolete models of the past. ASTRONET is our opportunity to formulate a coherent pan-European plan with a 20 year horizon.”

During the Symposium, scientists will discuss research relating to all astrophysical objects from the Sun and Solar system to the overall structure of the Universe, as well as every observing technique, in space and from the ground, and from radiation at any wavelength, to astroparticles and gravitational waves. Theory, computing, human resources, and outreach will be important subjects as well.

Professor Bode continued:

“Astronomy has entered an era of exciting discoveries that provide answers to fundamental questions. At the heart of our increasing understanding of the Universe is the development of sophisticated research facilities incorporating new technologies. These span ground-based observatories, space missions, ‘virtual observatories’, large-scale computing infrastructures and laboratory studies.

“Given the scale and cost of these facilities, it is vital that scientists and key funding bodies across Europe reach a consensus, based on a defined scientific imperative, about which developments to invest in over the next 20 years. We will also be reviewing the undoubted impact astronomy has on education and the engagement of the public with science and technology, and how we can further enhance these important aspects of our work across Europe.”

The funding landscape for large projects in Europe is highly complex and fragmented, encompassing national funding agencies, research institutes and universities, scientific agencies as well as ministries. In this respect alone, developing a single coherent European programme for astronomy has been challenging.

The ASTRONET Board is confident that the coherent vision outlined in the Road Map, encompassing all aspects of astronomy, will help to convince governments that European astronomy can and must stay at the forefront of global developments in this field.

ASTRONET coordinator, Jean-Marie Hameury, Deputy Director of the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers at CNRS, commented:

“There have always been close links between frontier scientific research and cutting edge industrial development. It may come as a surprise but a number of technological developments including high speed computers, medical diagnostic equipment, industrial cooling systems and high precision optical equipment can trace their origins back to advances in astronomy. The Road Map will have ramifications that extend far beyond astronomy, impacting on industry, education and research. That’s why it’s so imperative that we get it right.”

Recommendations arising from the Liverpool ASTRONET Symposium will be incorporated into the final Road Map due to published in October 2008.

Shonagh Wilkie | alfa
Further information:
http://www.astro.livjm.ac.uk/~airs2008/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientific achievements during the operation of Lomonosov satellite
18.12.2017 | Lomonosov Moscow State University

nachricht Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms
18.12.2017 | Faculty of Physics University of Warsaw

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>