Launch of Ariadna to boost advanced space research in Europe

What is the likelihood of artificial muscles made from electro-active polymers replacing mechanical parts in spacecraft? Will it ever be possible to conceive an interstellar highway in which spacecraft journey across the galaxy using the delicate gravitational balance between neighbouring stars? These are just some of the imaginative, futuristic concepts that will be studied in the first call for proposals issued under a new European Space Agency (ESA) initiative named Ariadna.

Managed by the Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) on behalf of the Agency's Advanced Concepts and Studies Office, Ariadna will further strengthen the existing links between ESA and the European academic community.

Not only will Ariadna enhance opportunities for cooperation and exchange of information between ESA, universities and research institutes, but it will also enable ESA to become even more involved in ground-breaking research than in the past, becoming an equal partner as much as possible, rather than a mere supervisor.

"In the Advanced Concepts Team we want to devote our time to what we like best: finding out about research being carried out in universities, and carrying out research ourselves," said Andrs Glvez, head of the Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

"The easiest way of doing so is by working together in areas of common interest," he added. "Ariadna will help us to achieve these goals, by fostering the free flow of innovative ideas and information between ESA and the academic community."

Ariadna will be devoted to short, inexpensive studies involving research into radical new space technologies. The main areas of interest will be:

Fundamental Physics: Theoretical research into fundamental physical phenomena and exploration of their technological implications in subjects such as gravitational physics and quantum mechanics.

Advanced power sy

Contact: Torsten Bondo
European Space Agency

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