The SPICA infrared space telescope has been shortlisted by the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in the final competition which will see in September 2021 the choice of the next mission of medium size ESA (M5 mission). SPICA is a large infrared telescope (diameter 2.5 m) fully cooled to a temperature of only a few degrees above absolute zero. This concept was proposed to ESA as part of the competition for the M5 mission of the "Cosmic Vision" program (25 proposals submitted) by a consortium of European research laboratories led by Holland in close collaboration with the space agency Japan (JAXA), and in which the CEA (Département d'Astrophysique of CEA-Irfu), the CNRS and their associated universities participate in France with the support of CNES.
See the French version for more : La mission SPICA en compétition pour l'ESA
What is the mass of neutrinos? To answer this fundamental question, the KATRIN experiment was designed and built by an international collaboration at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. On June 11, 2018, an international symposium marked the beginning of data acquisition. The first electron spectra from tritium decay have been analyzed with an analysis chain developed at IRFU. Everything conforms to the required specifications and the first long data taking campaign for physics can start. First results expected in 2020.
On May 7, 2018, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced the three selected space missions, out of the 25 proposed, for the fifth ESA middle class mission in its scientific program Cosmic Vision, whose launch date is planned in 2032. One of these three missions is the THESEUS project (Transient High-Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor), a project developed in recent years by a large European consortium in which the Astrophysics Department-AIM Laboratory of CEA-Irfu plays a major role. THESEUS aims to explore the early Universe (the first billion years) through gamma ray bursts (GRBs), the most extreme explosions of the cosmos, and to provide accurate detection, localization, and distance measurement of gravitational waves and neutrinos sources, as well as many other transient celestial sources.