Early artist’s conception of SPICA.

Mission Overview

SPICA (SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics) is a kind of "Herschel-successor" with a slightly smaller, but cryogenically cooled mirror. This allows to use more sensitive instruments. The main European instrument contribution to SPICA is the FIR imaging spectrometer SAFARI (SpicA FAR-infrared Instrument). It will cover the 34-210 micron waveband instantaneously with a spectral resolution of R=10-10000 and a fi eld of view of 2'x2'. The optical configuration of SAFARI is a Mach-Zehnder imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer. This allows a high mapping speed due to spatial and spectral multiplexing, the ability to straightforwardly incorporate a photometric imaging mode and the operational flexibility to tailor the spectral resolution to the science programme.
SPICA is an observatory-type mission at the Lagrangian point L2 in the Sun-Earth system, just where Herschel and Planck are. with all kinds of science applications, ranging from star and galaxy formation to icy planets. The department's scientifi c interests are similar to Herschel: Late-type stars, extragalactic studies, star formation.

Contribution of our Team

We will use Herschel-legacy to develop the Compression SW module for SAFARI. The HW (LEON2-based) and control software are provided by Italy.

Involved Personnel

Management, Science Lead: F. Kerschbaum

Development Lead: R. Ottensamer

Consortium Members: F. Kerschbaum (HoN), M. Güdel, R. Ottensamer

WP Lead for "Instrument Data Handling"

Next important Milestones

SPICA was one of the three candidates for an ESA medium-class mission (M5), but unfortunately is not competing in this selection anymore.

(Launch Date: 2030)



Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)