The cost window: Can we do observatory class sciences with small space missions?

Martin Barstow

University of Leicester

Even before the current financial crisis, it was becoming difficult to sustain the level of expenditure required to provide the range of space astronomy missions that the research community would like to see. The multi-billion pound/dollar observatories that we might hope would follow the successes of Chandra, XMM-Newton, HST and JWST continue to slip into the future, while the medium size ESA and NASA missions provide a small number of opportunities over the next decade. Much exciting and important science, by default, will not be done. If satellite mission costs could be reduced significantly, by a factor of 5-10, we would open up a new parameter space of opportunity that is not currently offered by any agency. Recently, significant improvements in instrument technology coupled with simplification of optical systems has led to the prospect of the development of some low-cost opportunities. These concepts will be outlined and the prospects of developing them into real flight opportunities in the near future discussed.

Date: Mardi, le 9 août 2011
Heure: 11:00
Lieu: Université de Montréal
  Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, local D-460
Contact: Pierre Bergeron