Thursday, 25 January 2024

ESA gives green light to LISA and EnVision missions: good news for UniTrento

One aims to build the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, the other to explore the mysteries of Venus

Versione stampabile

Italy participates in the two projects with the Italian Space Agency, the University of Trento and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics.

ESA's Science Programme Committee approved today the LISA and EnVision missions. This means that the study phase is complete and ESA commits to implementing the mission. LISA will be launched in the mid-2030s while EnVision is foreseen to launch in 2031.

"These two missions will play a key role as they will help us increase our knowledge of the universe by listening to gravitational waves and understanding the characteristics and fate of planets similar to ours, such as Venus," commented rector Flavio Deflorian. "The University of Trento is part of both the Lisa and EnVision missions, with its principal investigators and, more generally, with an effective, respected and vibrant research activity. These are the results that make the University of Trento and Trentino research stand out in the field of space research, at the national and international level." 

"For both missions, this comes after an extensive and successful research work, which includes the launch of the Lisa Pathfinder mission, that opened the way to the Lisa mission, and the Juice mission, to explore the moons of Jupiter, where our University played a leading role among the international partners alongside ESA, NASA and ASI. We are also very happy for the level of collaboration between the research institutions based in Trentino, that is now visible to all."

ASI - INFIN - UniTrento joint press release

Lisa gets go-ahead to capture the sound of the Universe

How did the Universe originate and what is it made of? The Lisa space mission, that today obtained a green light for launch in 2031 from the European space agency, will try to answer these questions. Its goal: to capture the ripples of spacetime and the predicted gravitational ‘ringing’ from the initial moments of our Universe and offer a direct glimpse into the very first seconds after the Big Bang. The Italian contribution to the mission's hardware was developed by the Experimental Gravitation Laboratory of the University of Trento and TIFPA/INFN with William Weber as supervisor. This result is a reward for twenty years of work that started with the Lisa Pathfinder mission led by UniTrento with Stefano Vitale.

Lisa press release

The EnVision mission is headed to Venus

How and when did Earth's twin become so inhospitable? EnVision, ESA's next mission to Venus, will try to answer this question. How can we predict irreversible climate processes by observing the history of Venus? That is the objective of the mission, that will use the radar instruments on board led by principal investigator Lorenzo Bruzzone of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento. UniTrento played a leading role in the design of the mission and its general study phases, and is responsible for the instrument that will probe beneath Venus's surface.

EnVision press release