January 1, 2010

Prospective Seminar 2014: call for ideas

To define with the scientific community the medium-term orientation of the French space science programs, CNES plans to organize in March 2014 in La Rochelle a prospective seminar which will cover all areas of scientific research space.

Namely :

Universe Sciences:

  • Fundamental physics, gravitation, astroparticle
  • Astronomy and astrophysics, including cosmology, stellar physics and extrasolar planets
  • Sun, heliosphere, solar - terrestrial relations, terrestrial and planetary magnetospheres
  • Planets and small bodies of the solar system
  • Astro / exobiology and planetary protection.

Life and condensed-matter sciences in microgravity:

  • Life sciences in space
  • Condensed-matter science in microgravity.

Land, Environment, climate:

  • Atmospheric Chemistry and middle atmosphere
  • Meteorology and Climate
  • Physical oceanography, ocean biosphere, cryosphere
  • Study of continental surfaces, including hydrology and biosphere
  • Internal geophysics, geodynamics, geodesy and study of the solid Earth.

To engage this forward thinking and to prepare the seminar in March 2014, CNES is issuing this call for ideas, intended to identify future missions or space experiments needs and priorities of the national scientific community.

This call for ideas is fully opened or displayed without prioritizing scientific topics or technical hardware or software solutions. Cross-thematic aspects, such synergies Earth Sciences - Sciences of the Universe in terms of instrumental techniques could usefully be highlighted. Similarly, these proposals will bring out issues at the interface between several themes (e.g. health - environment, adaptation to global change...).

The content of expected answers is therefore open to any original proposal and all relevant types of investigation in connection with the space tool.

It may concern:

  • Research topics, or cross-cutting issues
  • Observations and/or measurements from space
  • Embedded experiments
  • Techniques of observation and measurement
  • Tools for data processing
  • Complete space missions.

The study of original instrumental concepts or the adaptation of known ground instrumental concepts not yet used in space can be proposed.

This call for ideas deals with new missions and also spatial experiments that could be developed to maturity 2018-2024. It covers also missions or space experiments that have previously been unsuccessful proposals to CNES or ESA, and which scientific and/or technical maturity asserted since their last submission. Their implementation can be seen in the context of ESA or multilaterally with partners outside of Europe (USA, Russia, China, Japan, India, etc.).

This multilateral component includes as well participation in future missions proposed by foreign countries as national missions. We recall that commercial European platforms can be used for various scientific missions, e.g. the PROTEUS platform developed by CNES and TAS-F. Recently, the CNES has begun to develop a new platform in partnership with industrial contractors (TAS-F, Astrium-SAS), called MYRIADE Evolution (second generation of Myriade developed by CNES), for micro satellites whose total mass is between 200 kg and 300 kg, with a payload of 50 kg and 100 kg for an orbit of any altitude and inclination, compatible to a VEGA launch and Soyuz launch as shared or secondary passenger. The space mission propositions using such platforms are welcome.

Research proposals involving experiments carried on balloons are also concerned with this call for ideas and will be discussed during the prospective seminar preparation: a special workshop in the fall of 2014 will develop the medium term program of CNES balloons as recommended by the prospective seminar.

Experiments in microgravity using parabolic flights, ESA sounding rockets, automatic recoverable capsules or manned space stations such as the International Space Station (ISS) and experiments with simulated microgravity (e.g. decubitus) or variable gravity (e.g. centrifuge) can also be proposed.

This call for ideas is separate from the annual call for proposals.


Proposals received in response to this call for ideas will be examined according to the following schedule:

  • January 11, 2013: Deadline for receipt of responses
  • January - end March 2013: Scientific review of proposals by the CNES thematic working groups and preliminary examination by CNES technical experts as scientific need; presentation of the progress to the CNES Scientific Program Committee (CPS).

Following this examination, applicants will be informed of the opinions of the working groups and recommendations of the CPS and will, where appropriate, be invited to explore certain aspects of their proposals or to make mergers between several proposals.

  • July 12, 2013: Deadline for receipt of revised proposals taking into account these recommendations
  • July - end of October 2013: second review of proposals by CNES and the thematic working groups; presentation of progress to the CNES Scientific Program Committee (SPC)
  • November 2013 - late February 2014: meeting of the thematic working groups for the preparation of guidelines to be proposed and discussed at the seminar of March 2014
  • March 2014: Prospective seminar of with participation by invitation only (format and exact date to be determined); representatives of our key national and international partners (research organizations, ministries) will be invited to the meeting presenting the recommendations of the prospective seminar.

The conclusions of the prospective seminar will be presented at the end of March 2014 to the CNES Scientific Program Committee. It may recommend a mission analysis (phase 0 study) and / or Research and Technology (R & T ) for some of the proposals discussed during the seminar on future projects. Subsequently, the CPS may recommend their passage in a definition phase (phase A) and implementation phases (phases B, C, D).

It has to be presented:

  • The scientific objectives, placed in an international context
  • The involved French scientific community
  • The technique of observation and measurement and the onboard instrumentation, and their level of maturity or needs of R & T or mission analysis
  • The context and timing of implementation
  • Opportunities of European or international cooperation.

The scientific relevance of proposals will be a criterion for evaluation. The degree of technical maturity, as well as the size of the missions or proposed experiments, in budgetary terms, is not at this stage a criteria of the selection.

As previously said, the proposals must be received for January 11, 2013 at the latest.
We would be grateful to disseminate this call for ideas to all your colleagues that have not received it.