On some major upcoming European planetary missions

The European Space Agency is sending some of the most ambitious missions to explore the solar system in the next 10 years.

European planetary missions seem to be far less popular than ones by NASA, or even Chinese missions for that matter. This is despite the fact that the European Space Agency (ESA) has launched some of the most interesting robotic explorers in the solar system. A part of the reason most certainly is media coverage bias towards the U.S. and China as a result of their sociopolitical and economic influence but I think there are other factors too such as lack of targeted outreach or limited media tools. In any case, in order to offset such bias at individual capacity, I like to track and cover as much global space exploration developments as I can, something readers thankfully say is prominent on my Moon exploration newsletter.

Since ESA has been leveraging their two-decade experience to build state-of-the-art spacecraft instruments for upcoming space science missions, especially those part of their ambitious Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program, I’ve been wanting to write about it in context for a while now. And so I’m happy to have recently written missions pages for The Planetary Society on three of the most ambitious ESA solar system explorers launching in the next 10 years. Together, they’ll help answer some of the most pressing questions about the solar system and our place in it. Here are links to those pages.

The highly autonomous ExoMars rover designed to detect preserved signs of life unlike any mission before.
EnVision and its sophisticated instruments to comprehensively uncover Venus’ past and tell us what drove Venus from being habitable to hellish.
The sophisticated JUICE spacecraft to find out if Jupiter’s icy moons indeed harbor habitable oceans and what it means for life elsewhere in the Universe.

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