Feeds

Can we have another go at CryoSat, please?

Pleading with beancounters

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The lead scientist on the CryoSat mission, Duncan Wingham, has called for the programme to be relaunched, arguing that the research it would have done is too important to leave aside.

CryoSat, which was felled mid-launch on Saturday by "an anomaly in the launch sequence", was to be the first of three European "Earth Explorer" satellites.

Its mission was to monitor the changes in thickness of the polar ice sheets and sea ice. Researchers hoped the data it would send back would help them develop new and more accurate models of climate change.

Professor Wingham told the BBC: "The agency [ESA] has already announced that it will look at ways of doing the mission again. The science we are trying to do is very important and we need to find out what is going on in the Arctic."

Although the US has IceSat, another mission dedicated to studying the Earth's ice cover, it carries different instruments to CryoSat. CryoSat's radar altimeter would have provided very precise data on ice-thickness, ESA says, giving scientists a better understanding of the relationship between the planet's ice cover and the climate.

In addition, IceSat's coverage of the poles is not 100 per cent complete. CryoSat would have filled that gap.

ESA says the loss of this mission is extremely unlikely to affect the other two Earth Explorer missions, but adds that it is too early to tell whether a CryoSat Mark II could be built.

Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation, commented: "We have to analyse which parts and systems are still available, in which time frame it could be achieved and for what cost. Then we have to go to the Programme Board and ask for the decision of ESA’s Member States."

He said that getting a clone of CryoSat up and running would be less expensive that starting the mission from scratch, and that reviving the project would probably take around three years. The original budget was €136m.

ESA is next meeting to discuss its budget in December. Member states' science ministers will have a lot of missions competing for their budgets, including the long-term Aurora project, which will see European space craft travel to Mars, and a possible collaboration with Russia to build Kliper, a rival to the US' Shuttle.

Spokespeople for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) in the UK both said it was too early to say how sympathetic the UK would be to proposals to re-run the CryoSat mission.

A spokeswoman for NERC told us: "Obviously, it would be good if it could be resurrected, but there are things that do have to be discussed." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.