noted its anticipated synergies with other facilities and “legacy” through archival means and said that, depending on WFIRST’s actual manifestation, there may be a lot of scope for making Euclid and WFIRST’s science complementary. He said that the incorporation of microlensing would be possible from a hardware point of view and is being discussed, but the current nominal survey baseline does not include it. Finally, he provided the current Euclid mission schedule, which foresees launch in 2018, contingent on its selection in the M(edium)-class mission decision expected mid-2011.
Fabio Favata, head of the ESA Science Planning and Community Coordination Office, was given the following questions prior to his talk:
• What is ESA’s reaction to the statement on Euclid in NWNH: “Collaboration on a combined mission with the United States playing a leading role should be considered so long as the committee’s recommended [NWNH] science program is preserved and overall cost savings result.”?
• Is there any flexibility in the plans for the science of the Euclid mission? Could it be restructured to include all three components of a WFIRST mission (specifically, for dark energy: weak lensing, BAO, and SNe; exoplanets via microlensing; and a guest investigator survey mode)?
• What approach is ESA taking to secure independent cost and schedule estimates for the Euclid mission?
• What is the current status of independent cost estimates for Euclid, and how confident is ESA that Euclid can stay within the €470 million cost ceiling?
• What is ESA’s schedule for delivery of Euclid science, and to what extent does that schedule depend on U.S. involvement?
Dr. Favata delivered a presentation via teleconference on ESA program planning with respect to Euclid. He outlined the ESA long-term science program planning process and described the “Cosmic Vision 2015-2025”2 process, which resulted in the identification of four Grand Themes.3 He went on to discuss the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 budget consideration and allocation process and the mission types and management processes created within the science program. He also outlined the Cosmic Vision project selection process and the current status of the process. He mentioned that Euclid will have to undergo selection in the M-class selection process next year and that Euclid is competing with two strong competitors. He said that at this stage in the competition, no significant changes to Euclid’s configuration that would impact the project’s readiness for the selection process would be possible. He noted that after the competition the agency could consider it if it had international partnerships. He said there was no consideration being given to scaling Euclid back to an optical-only mission, given an expectation that a WFIRST mission would carry out the infrared complement. Should there be a partnership with the United States then ESA could consider a different scenario after the Euclid selection; however, this would need to go through the usual ESA advisory structure process. At the time of Dr. Favata’s presentation to the panel, NASA has not communicated any final decision on Euclid, and ESA is continuing with Euclid as is. He noted it would be very difficult to modify the mission significantly at this stage and keep with the launch date of 2018.
Jon Morse, director of the NASA Astrophysics Division, and Fabio Favata, ESA, next took questions pertaining to ongoing NASA-ESA discussions regarding Euclid and a possible NASA minority partnership in the Euclid project and perhaps a reciprocal ESA involvement in the WFIRST program. They were given the following questions prior to their appearance:
• When is the deadline for NASA and ESA to firm their commitments to Euclid?
• How would a 1-year delay (or more) in a U.S. decision to join Euclid impact NASA’s and ESA’s decision on the mission and its scope?
3 See European Space Agency Publication BR-247.