Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2007-2.2-01 | Award Amount: 35.54M | Year: 2008
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken. It is a machine designed to answer some of the big questions of our time: what is Dark Energy? Was Einstein right about gravity? What is the nature of dark matter? Can we detect gravitational waves? When and how did the first stars and galaxies form? What was the origin of cosmic magnetism? How do Earth-like planets form? Is there life, intelligent or otherwise, elsewhere in the Universe? There are several issues that need to be addressed before construction of the SKA can begin: 1. What is the design for the SKA? 2. Where will the SKA be located? 3. What is the legal framework and governance structure under which SKA will operate? 4. What is the most cost-effective mechanism for the procurement of the various components of the SKA? 5. How will the SKA be funded? The purpose of this proposal is to address all of these points. We seek funding to integrate the R&D work from around the globe in order to develop the fully-costed design for Phase 1 of the SKA, and a deployment plan for the full instrument. With active collaboration between funding agencies and scientists, we will investigate all of the options for the policy-related questions. The principal deliverable will be an implementation plan that will form the basis of a funding proposal to governments to start the construction of the SKA.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 7.39M | Year: 2009
The Europlanet RI project will provide the European planetary science community with a unique research infrastructure, combining access to a suite of state of the art facilities while fostering their joint development and integration in terms of capacity and performance. This research infrastructure will include access to laboratory and field site facilities, advanced modelling, simulation and data analysis resources and to data produced by space missions and ground-based telescopes hence maximising the scientific impact of major European space missions and ground-based installations. Access will be provided in two forms. Three coordinated Trans National Access activities will open to many users the unique range of laboratory and field site facilities selected for this project. In parallel, the IDIS e-service will provide a user-friendly web-based access to the available planetary science data, information and software tools. Four Joint Research Activities will broaden the scope of the infrastructure, opening access to new field sites, offering new models and data analysis tools for users and widening the opportunity of remote data access by progressively upgrading IDIS into a Planetary Virtual Observatory. Four complementary networking activities will publicize the objectives and opportunities of Europlanet RI and disseminate project results amongst the scientific community, industries, SMEs, space agencies and the public. They will consolidate the establishment of a European Research Area for planetary science and exploration. Building on the synergies between its services, joint research activities and networking activities, Europlanet RI will provide the ideal scientific and technical environment to fully analyse data from past and present planetary missions and prepare the next generation of missions. In this way it will play a vital role in establishing the European Community as a leading player in planetary and space exploration.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-4-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 14.99M | Year: 2015
ASTERICS (Astronomy ESFRI & Research Infrastructure Cluster) aims to address the cross-cutting synergies and common challenges shared by the various Astronomy ESFRI facilities (SKA, CTA, KM3Net & E-ELT). It brings together for the first time, the astronomy, astrophysics and particle astrophysics communities, in addition to other related research infrastructures. The major objectives of ASTERICS are to support and accelerate the implementation of the ESFRI telescopes, to enhance their performance beyond the current state-of-the-art, and to see them interoperate as an integrated, multi-wavelength and multi-messenger facility. An important focal point is the management, processing and scientific exploitation of the huge datasets the ESFRI facilities will generate. ASTERICS will seek solutions to these problems outside of the traditional channels by directly engaging and collaborating with industry and specialised SMEs. The various ESFRI pathfinders and precursors will present the perfect proving ground for new methodologies and prototype systems. In addition, ASTERICS will enable astronomers from across the member states to have broad access to the reduced data products of the ESFRI telescopes via a seamless interface to the Virtual Observatory framework. This will massively increase the scientific impact of the telescopes, and greatly encourage use (and re-use) of the data in new and novel ways, typically not foreseen in the original proposals. By demonstrating cross-facility synchronicity, and by harmonising various policy aspects, ASTERICS will realise a distributed and interoperable approach that ushers in a new multi-messenger era for astronomy. Through an active dissemination programme, including direct engagement with all relevant stakeholders, and via the development of citizen scientist mass participation experiments, ASTERICS has the ambition to be a flagship for the scientific, industrial and societal impact ESFRI projects can deliver.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-SyG | Phase: ERC-2013-SyG | Award Amount: 13.98M | Year: 2014
Gravity is successfully described by Einsteins theory of general relativity (GR), governing the structure of our entire universe. Yet it remains the least understood of all forces in nature, resisting unification with quantum physics. One of the most fundamental predictions of GR are black holes (BHs). Their defining feature is the event horizon, the surface that light cannot escape and where time and space exchange their nature. However, while there are many convincing BH candidates in the universe, there is no experimental proof for the existence of an event horizon yet. So, does GR really hold in its most extreme limit? Do BHs exist or are alternatives needed? Here we propose to build a Black Hole Camera that for the first time will take an actual picture of a BH and image the shadow of its event horizon. We will do this by providing the equipment and software needed to turn a network of existing mm-wave radio telescopes into a global interferometer. This virtual telescope, when supplemented with the new Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), has the power to finally resolve the supermassive BH in the centre of our Milky Way the best-measured BH candidate we know of. In order to compare the image with the theoretical predictions we will need to perform numerical modelling and ray tracing in GR and alternative theories. In addition, we will need to determine accurately the two basic parameters of the BH: its mass and spin. This will become possible by precisely measuring orbits of stars with optical interferometry on ESOs VLTI. Moreover, our equipment at ALMA will allow for the first detection of pulsars around the BH. Already a single pulsar will independently determine the BHs mass to one part in a million and its spin to a few per cent. This unique combination will not only produce the first-ever image of a BH, but also turn our Galactic Centre into a fundamental-physics laboratory to measure the fabric of space and time with unprecedented precision.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2011-1.1.21. | Award Amount: 11.58M | Year: 2012
RadioNet is an I3 that coordinates all of Europes leading radio astronomy facilities in an integrated cooperation to achieve transformational improvement in the quality and quantity of the scientific research of European astronomers. RadioNet3 includes 27 partners operating world-class radio telescopes and/or performing cutting-edge R&D in a wide range of technology fields important for radio astronomy. RadioNet3 proposes a work plan that is structured into 6 NAs, 7 TNAs and 4 JRAs with the aim to integrate and optimise the use and development of European radio astronomy infrastructures. The general goals of RadioNet3 are to: - facilitate, for a growing community of European researchers, access to the complete range of Europes world-leading radio-astronomical facilities, including the ALMA telescope; - secure a long-term perspective on scientific and technical developments in radio astronomy, pooling resources and expertise that exist among the partners; - stimulate new R&D activities for the existing radio infrastructures in synergy with ALMA and the SKA; - contribute to the implementation of the vision of the ASTRONET Strategic Plan for European Astronomy by building a sustainable and world leading radio astronomical research community. RadioNet3 builds on the success of two preceeding I3s under FP6 and FP7, but it also takes a leap forward as it includes facilitation of research with ALMA via a dedicated NA, and 4 pathfinders for the SKA in its TNA Program. It has a transparent and efficient management structure designed to optimally support the implementation of the project. RadioNet is now recognized by funding agencies and international project consortia as the European entity representing radio astronomy and facilitating the access to and exploitation of excellent facilities in this field. This is of paramount importance, as a dedicated, formal European radio astronomy organisation to coordinate and serve the needs of this community does not yet exist.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2008-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 14.19M | Year: 2009
RadioNet is an integrating activity that has pulled together ALL of Europes leading radio astronomy facilities to produce a focused, coherent and integrated proposals that will significantly enhance the quality and quantity of science performed by European astronomers. RadioNet FP7 has 25 partners. They range from operators of major radio telescope facilities to laboratories that specialise in micro-electronics. This proposal has brought these institutes together in a unique partnership that builds and extends on RadioNet FP6. The programme of work includes: 7 Networking activities, 4 joint research activities and 9 transnational access projects. The three main objectives are to: (i) provide European astronomers access to world-class radio astronomy facilities; (ii) embark on a research and development plan that will further enhance and improve these facilities, and (iii) nurture and support a rapidly growing community of radio astronomers and engineers, so that can fully exploit the upgraded and next generation radio facilities that will become available over the next few years.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.2.3 | Award Amount: 5.79M | Year: 2010
The objective of Novel EXplorations Pushing Robust e-VLBI Services (NEXPReS) is to offer enhanced scientific performance for all use of the European VLBI Network (EVN) and its partners. The proposed activities will allow the introduction of an e-VLBI component to every experiment, aiming for enhanced robustness, flexibility and sensitivity. This will boost the scientific capability of this distributed facility and offer better data quality and deeper images of the radio sky to a larger number of astronomers. In the past years, e-VLBI has been successfully introduced for real-time, high-resolution radio astronomy. Due to limitations in connectivity, bandwidth and processing capacity, this enhanced mode cannot be offered to all astronomers yet, in spite of its obvious advantages. By providing transparent buffering mechanisms at telescope and correlator it will be possible to address all the current and future bottlenecks in e-VLBI, overcoming limited connectivity to essential stations or network failures, all but eliminating the need for physical transport of magnetic media. Such a scheme will be far more efficient, and ultimately greener, than the current model, in which complex logistics and a large over-capacity of disks are needed to accommodate global observations. It will require high-speed recording hardware, as well as software systems that hide all complexity. Real-time grid computing and high bandwidth on demand will be addressed as well, to improve both the continuous usage of the network and prepare the EVN for the higher bandwidths which will ensure it will remain the most sensitive VLBI array in the world. The proposed programme will strengthen the collaboration between the European radio-astronomical and ICT communities. This will be essential to maintain Europes leading role in the global SKA project.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.2.1-03 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2011
This ESPACE project aims at strengthening the collaboration and at developing new knowledge, new technology, and products for the scientific community in the domains of the development of ephemerides and reference systems for natural satellites and spacecraft by conjugating expertise of main European research centres involved in space sciences and dynamics, ROB, TUB, JIVE, TUD, CNES, DLR and IMCCE. The main part of the activity is focused on the extraction and analysis of astrometric data from space measurements not yet applied to the dynamics and to combine them with ground-based astrometric data. The project will also advance the European expertise in ultra-precise tracking of planetary probes and other deep space science missions. By these means, we intend to provide new dynamical models for several natural satellites, a characterization of their rotation properties, and improve spacecraft orbit determination methods for space science. The project is organised in 11 work-packages: coordination (management), radio science, laser ranging, VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry), digitized data handling, astrometry, definition of coordination reference frames and improvement of planetary coordinate knowledge, methods for determination of spacecraft and satellites ephemerides, formation of databases, data access and distribution methods, educational and outreach activities. The project will concentrate at achieving maximum synergy between all the work packages above in order to deliver to the professional and at-large communities the best scientific products adequate to the present-day cutting-edge space science and technology.