mardi 22 janvier 2019

Astronaut Health Study and Spacesuit Work Onboard Station

ISS - Expedition 58 Mission patch.

January 22, 2019

The three Expedition 58 crew members continued studying today the upward flow of fluids inside astronauts’ bodies caused by living in space. The crew also worked on packing a U.S. cargo craft and servicing U.S. spacesuits at the International Space Station.

One easily recognizable symptom of living in space is the “puffy face” astronauts get due to the upward flow of fluids in the body. Underlying impacts of this phenomenon include head and eye pressure changes that occur off Earth which the Fluid Shifts experiment is seeking to better understand.

Image above: Astronaut Anne McClain is inside the Destiny laboratory module surrounded by exercise gear, including laptop computers and sensors that measure physical exertion and aerobic capacity. Image Credit: NASA.

All three crew members gathered in the Zvezda service module throughout the day using a special suit to temporarily reverse these upward fluid shifts. NASA astronaut Anne McClain wore the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit, which pull fluids downward, while Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques checked her head and eye pressure using a variety of biomedical devices. Commander Oleg Kononenko assisted the duo with guidance from specialists on the ground.

McClain and Saint-Jacques also partnered up before lunchtime to get the Cygnus resupply ship ready for its departure on Feb. 12. The duo reviewed packing procedures and stowed inventory aboard the U.S. space freighter from Northrop Grumman.

Image above: Flyingt over Autral Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27'572 Km/h, altitude: 422,60 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam's from ISS on January 22, 2019 at 20:58 UTC. Image Credits: Aerospace/Roland Berga.

McClain started the day installing the new Facet Cell crystal growth experiment in the Kibo laboratory module. She spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning cooling loops on U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock as NASA prepares for spacewalks at the orbital lab later this year.

Related links:

Expedition 58:

Zvezda service module:

Cygnus resupply ship:

Kibo laboratory module:

Quest airlock:

Fluid Shifts:

Facet Cell:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

A Fleeting Moment in Time

ESO - European Southern Observatory logo.

22 January 2019

European Southern Observatory’s Cosmic Gems Programme captures last breath of a dying star

A Fleeting Moment in Time

The faint, ephemeral glow emanating from the planetary nebula ESO 577-24 persists for only a short time — around 10,000 years, a blink of an eye in astronomical terms. ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured this shell of glowing ionised gas — the last breath of the dying star whose simmering remains are visible at the heart of this image. As the gaseous shell of this planetary nebula expands and grows dimmer, it will slowly disappear from sight.

Digitized Sky Survey image around the planetary nebula ESO 577-24

An evanescent shell of glowing gas spreading into space — the planetary nebula ESO 577-24 —  dominates this image [1]. This planetary nebula is the remains of a dead giant star that has thrown off its outer layers, leaving behind a small, intensely hot dwarf star. This diminished remnant will gradually cool and fade, living out its days as the mere ghost of a once-vast red giant star.

The planetary nebula ESO 577-24 in the constellation Virgo

Red giants are stars at the end of their lives that have exhausted the hydrogen fuel in their cores and begun to contract under the crushing grip of gravity. As a red giant shrinks, the immense pressure reignites the core of the star, causing it to throw its outer layers into the void as a powerful stellar wind. The dying star’s incandescent core emits ultraviolet radiation intense enough to ionise these ejected layers and cause them to shine. The result is what we see as a planetary nebula — a final, fleeting testament to an ancient star at the end of its life [2].

Panning across the evanescent planetary nebula ESO 577-24

This dazzling planetary nebula was discovered as part of the National Geographic Society  — Palomar Observatory Sky Survey in the 1950s, and was recorded in the Abell Catalogue of Planetary Nebulae in 1966 [3]. At around 1400 light years from Earth, the ghostly glow of ESO 577-24 is only visible through a powerful telescope. As the dwarf star cools, the nebula will continue to expand into space, slowly fading from view.

Zooming in on ESO 577-24

This image of ESO 577-24 was created as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, an initiative that produces images of interesting, intriguing, or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes for the purposes of education and public outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for scientific observations; nevertheless, the data collected are made available to astronomers through the ESO Science Archive.


[1] Planetary nebulae were first observed by astronomers in the 18th century — to them, their dim glow and crisp outlines resembled planets of the Solar System.

[2] By the time our Sun evolves into a red giant, it will have reached the venerable age of 10 billion years. There is no immediate need to panic, however — the Sun is currently only 5 billion years old.

[3] Astronomical objects often have a variety of official names, with different catalogues providing different designations. The formal name of this object in the Abell Catalogue of Planetary Nebulae is PN A66 36.

More information:

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 16 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a Strategic Partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX and ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.


ESOcast 191 Light: A Fleeting Moment in Time:

Cosmic Gems Programme:

More information on the VLT:

More information on FORS:

Images of the VLT:

ESO Science Archive:

Images, Text, Credits: ESO/Calum Turner/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin/IAU and Sky & Telescope/Videos: ESO. Music: Thomas Edward Rice — Phantasm Retro/Digitized Sky Survey 2, N. Risinger ( Music: Astral Electronic.

Best regards,

lundi 21 janvier 2019

Locations on the surface of Ryugu have been named!

JAXA - Hayabusa-2 Mission patch.

Jan. 21, 2019

Place names for locations on the surface of Ryugu were discussed by Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (hereafter IAU WG) and approved in December 2018. We will introduce the place names in this article and the background to their selection.

As the appearance of Ryugu gradually became clear during the approach phase in June 2018, we used nicknames amongst the Hayabsua2 Project team to distinguish regions of the terrain. (For example, the crater now named “Urashima” was referred to as the Death Star crater in Star Wars!) However, in order to introduce Ryugu to the world, it is necessary to have names that are intentionally recognized rather than nicknames, which can be referred to in scientific papers and other articles. Therefore, the discussion regarding naming the Ryugu surface topology began within the team.

Image above: Figure 1: Map of Ryugu showing the place names. Trinitas and Alice’s Wonderland are nicknames of the MINERVA-II1 and MASCOT landing sites, respectively, and not place names recognized by the IAU. Image credit:JAXA ※2.

To name a place on a celestial body in the Solar System, you must first decide on a theme. For example, the theme for places on Venus is the “names of goddesses”. During discussions between the domestic and overseas project members, suggestions such as “names of castles around the world”, “word for ‘dragon’ in different languages” and the “names of deep-sea creatures” were proposed for the place name theme on Ryugu. After an intense debate, the theme was selected to be “names that appear in stories for children” and a theme proposal was put to the IAU WG. The proposal was accepted on September 25, after which the discussion moved to selecting the topographical features to be named and the choice of name.

Names cannot be attributed to any location. Instead, there are restrictions on the places that can be assigned an official name involving considerations such as scientific importance or size on the celestial body. With this in mind, volunteers from the project members as well as planetary geology experts (hereinafter referred to as the Place Name Core Members ※1) discussed the place selection and completed the application forms for naming based on the exploration data. On October 12, we proposed 13 place names to the IAU WG. After additional discussion with the WG, 9 were accepted as proposed by the team and the remaining 4 names were approved after an amendment suggested by the IAU.

Image above: Figure 2: The location of place names on Ryugu. Trinitas and Alice’s Wonderland are nicknames of the MINERVA-II1 and MASCOT landing sites, respectively, and not place names recognized by the IAU. Image credit:JAXA ※2.

The surface of celestial bodies has a range of different topologies. We applied to give names to four different topology types on the Ryugu surface. The first type is “dorsum” which originates from the Latin for peak or ridge. The second type is “crater” which are familiar structures on the Moon and asteroids. Then “fossa” meaning grooves or trenches and finally the Latin word “saxum” for the rocks and boulders that are a main characteristic of the Ryugu terrain. Saxum is actually a new classification of terrain type that we applied to introduce due to the nature of Ryugu.

Numerous boulders are distributed on the surface of Ryugu. Regardless of where you look, there are rocks, rocks and more rocks. This is a major characteristic of Ryugu and continues to make plans for the touchdown operation of the spacecraft difficult. Additionally, spectroscopic observations revealed that the giant boulder (Otohime saxum) at the south pole has not only a substantial size, but also a distinct visible light spectrum that reveals materials and surface conditions that are different from the surrounding areas. Since this boulder is the most important topographical feature for understanding the formation history of Ryugu, the Project strongly hoped to name it. However, there was no precedent for boulder nomenclature and even the name type did not exist (during the exploration of the first Hayabusa mission, naming the huge boulder protruding from asteroid Itokawa was not allowed). We therefore proposed the type name for boulders at the same time as applying for the place names. Since terrain type names are usually Latin, we proposed “saxum” (meaning rocks and stones in Latin) as the type name for boulders. The IAU accepted this nomenclature for boulders with a few conditions (such as the boulder must be 1% or more of the diameter of the celestial body) and the type name that we suggested was adopted (!). This is how the new terrain type “saxum” was born.

Figure 1 shows a map of Ryugu with the place names labelled. Additionally, Figure 2 shows the location of the places on images of Ryugu taken from four different directions. In these figures, the north pole of Ryugu is at the image top. Please keep in mind that the north pole of Ryugu is in the same direction as the south pole on Earth, as Ryugu rotates in the opposite direction. Table 1 shows a list of the place names.

Image above: (Note 1) While “Cinderella” was proposed, the WG modified the name to the original French. (Note 2) “Peter Pan” was proposed but changed by the WG due to copyright issues. (Note 3) “Sleeping Beauty” was proposed but it was suggested that the character number was too long, so “Brabo” was proposed and accepted. (Note 4) “Oz” was proposed but this is used for Charon (moon of Pluto) so was changed by the WG. Image Credit: JAXA.

As it is difficult to get a feel for how the place names were chosen from just a list, we will introduce the story behind the main choices below.

The asteroid name “Ryugu” comes from the Japanese fairy tale of Taro Urashima. In the story, Urashima is a fisherman who rescues a sea turtle from the cruelty of a group of children. The turtle takes Urashima to the underwater palace of Ryugo-jo (Dragon Palace), where he meets the princess, Otohime. After 3 years, Urashima wishes to return home and is given a treasure box (tamatebako) by Otohime with instructions never to open it. But when Urashima returns to the surface, he discovers everything he knew has changed as 300 years has actually past. In confusion, Urashima opens the treasure box and is engulfed in white fog. When it clears, he has become an old man, as the box contained his age.

With the name of the asteroid being Ryugu, there was a strong desire from the Project to use other names that appear in Urashima’s story for major asteroid topography. However, place names cannot be common nouns so words such as “sea bream”, “flounder” and “turtle” do not work and we were limited to names such as Taro Urashima, Otohime etc.

JAXA Hayabusa 2 probe

Therefore, “Urashima” was chosen for the biggest crater on Ryugu and “Otohime” for the largest boulder near the south pole. Both of these are very important features for deciphering the formation history of Ryugu. However, Otohime had already been used! Venus (whose place theme uses the names of goddesses) had already a location named Otohime Tholus. Otohime was therefore initially refused by the IAU when it was proposed. But Otohime is an extremely important person in the story of Taro Urashima and how can we collect the tamatebako if Otohime is not on Ryugu?! (That was a joke, but we did want to use such a relevant name.) Since the name was important to the Project, the place name core members refined the proposal to the IAU, explaining why Otohime should be one of the main topological features on Ryugu and this was accepted.

A defining feature of Ryugu is that the shape is similar to a spinning top or abacus bead. This shape is the combination of two cones which appear almost circular when seen from the north pole. The ridge where they join was named “Ryujin”, after the ruler of the Dragon Palace who is the father of princess Otohime. This name came from the Place Name Core Members who felt the ridge resembled a dragon coiling around the asteroid or an ouroboros (the image of the serpent or dragon that swallows its own tail). (There was actually a similar illustration in the “Imagining Ryugu” art contest!)

On either side of Otohime saxum there are large grooves extending in the equatorial direction. In the story of Taro Urashima, Otohime lives in this mysterious place at the bottom of the ocean which is sometimes depicted as a different world in the various retellings of the tale. This world is often called “Horai”, “Tokoyo” or “Niraikanai”. The grooves adjacent to Otohime saxum were therefore named Horai fossa and Tokoyo fossa.

There is a reasonably big boulder to the southeast of the Urashima crater. According to one version of the tale, the place where Taro Urashima helped the turtle and left to travel to Ryugu-jo is the place “Ejima”, which gave the boulder its name Ejima saxum.

Image above: Figure 3: Distribution of the gravitational acceleration on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. Image credit: JAXA.

Figure 3:  The gravitational acceleration on the surface of Ryugu is approximately 0.11~0.15 mm/s2, which is about eighty thousandths (~ 1/80000th) the strength of the Earth’s gravity and a few times stronger than that of Itokawa. We can additionally see that the gravity near the poles of Ryugu is stronger than near the asteroid’s equator. This is due to the equatorial ridge protruding from the surface.

There are also large craters on both sides of Urashima crater. In particular, there are two craters stuck together along the north-south direction to the west. This state reminded us of the kibidango (Japanese dumplings) in another Japanese fairy tale called Momotaro. The northern crater of the pair was therefore named “Momotaro crater” and the southern crater became “Kibidango crater”. To the east of the Urashima crater, there is a crater with big black boulder inside. This reminded us of the Japanese tale of Kintaro, a boy with super strength who carried a broad-axe, and so was named “Kintaro crater”.

Ryugu also has topological names derived from children’s stories from outside Japan. For example, while you might not immediately recognize the name of the Cendrillion crater, the name is from the original French name for the familiar fairy tale, “Cinderella”. The name of the Brabo crater is derived from the name of the hero of a Netherlands tale, which was proposed by the overseas project members. The Kolobok crater and Catafo saxum were both names proposed by the IAU WG. They are taken from Russian and Cajun (famous for Cajun cuisine in the USA) folktales.

These are the place names formally recognized by the IAU WG. In addition, there are two nicknames shown in Figures 1 and 2; Trinitas (the MINERVA-II1 landing site and named for the goddess Minerva’s birth place) and Alice’s Wonderland (the MASCOT landing site). These were places named by the project to identify the points where MINERVA-II1 and MASCOT landed, but are not official names recognized by the IAU.

We are planning to review and propose place names from time to time as we continue to observe and research asteroid Ryugu. What kind of story should appear on Ryugu next?


※1. Place name core members (in no particular order): Rina Noguchi, Yuri Shimaki, Makoto Yoshikawa, Yuichi Tsuda (JAXA), Seiichio Watanabe (Nagoya University), Hideaki Miyamoto, Seiji Sugita (University of Tokyo), Goro Komatsu (Università d'Annunzio), Yoshiaki Ishihara (National Institute for Environmental Studies), Sho Sasaki (Osaka University), Naru Hirata, Chikatoshi Honda, Hirohide Demura (University of Aizu), Masatoshi Hirabayashi (Auburn University).

※2. The images of Ryugu are from the ONC team (JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST).


Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: JAXA/Rina Noguchi & Yuri Shimaki (Hayabusa2 Project).

Best regards,

Long March-11 launches two hyperspectral imaging satellites

CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

Jan. 21, 2019

A Long March-11 launch vehicle launched Jilin-1 Spectrum 01/02, Lingque-1A and Xiaoxiang-1 03 satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China, on 21 January 2019, at 05:42 UTC (13:42 local time).

Long March-11 launches Jilin-1 Spectrum 01/02, Lingque-1A and Xiaoxiang-1 03 satellites

The Jilin-1 (吉林一号) payload includes Spectral 01 (光谱01) and Spectral 02 (光谱01), two multispectral imaging satellites, along with Lingque-1A (灵鹊-1A), the first verifying satellite for the Lingque Constellation planned by Beijing ZeroG Technology Co., Ltd, and Xiaoxiang-1 03 (潇湘一号03), a technology test satellite developed by Spacety Co., Ltd.

Jilin-1 (吉林一号)

A Chinese Long March 11 rocket launches two hyperspectral imaging satellites for Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd.

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Credits: China Central Television (CCTV)/China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)/SciNews.


samedi 19 janvier 2019

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-71

ULA - Delta IV Heavy / NROL-71 Mission poster.

Jan. 19, 2019

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-71 in Support of 
National Security

Delta IV Heavy carrying NROL-71 launch

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a critical payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) denoted NROL-71 lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on Jan. 19 at 11:10 a.m. PST. The mission is in support of our country’s national defense.

“Congratulations to our team and mission partners for successfully delivering this critical asset to support national security missions,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, “thank you to the entire team for their perseverance, ongoing dedication and focus on 100% mission success.”

Delta IV Heavy launches NROL-71

The Delta IV Heavy is the nation’s proven heavy lift launch vehicle, delivering high-priority missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, U.S. Air Force and NASA. With its advanced upper stage, the Delta IV Heavy can take more than 14,000 pounds directly to geosynchronous orbit, as well as a wide variety of complex interplanetary trajectories.

The mission launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy, comprised of three common booster cores each powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing a combined total of more than 2.1 million pounds of thrust. The second stage was powered by an AR RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine.

Delta IV Heavy / NROL-71 Mission patch

NROL-71 is ULA’s first launch in 2019 and 132nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

ULA's next launch is the WGS-10 mission for the U.S. Air Force on a Delta IV rocket. The launch is scheduled for March 13, 2019 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 130 satellites to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at

Images, Video, Text, Credits: United Launch Alliance (ULA)/SciNews.


An artificial meteorite shower on Demand

ALE Co., Ltd logo / ALE satellite logo.

Jan. 19, 2019

ALE satellite

A meteorite launcher satellite has successfully been placed into orbit for an unprecedented space show in the Japanese skies.

A small Japanese rocket placed seven mini-satellites into orbit on Friday, including one designed to create artificial meteorite rain, a kind of space fireworks.

The idea of ​​this unprecedented celestial spectacle goes to a young company based in Tokyo that has developed the device.

The craft, which dropped in the interstellar universe the little Epsilon-4 launcher, must release 400 tiny balls that will shine when they cross the atmosphere early next year over Hiroshima.

Artificial meteors shower over a event

The rocket, which took off from the Uchinoura Space Center on Friday morning, was carrying a total of seven ultra-small satellites demonstrating various "innovative" technologies, according to Nobuyoshi Fujimoto, spokesman for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).

"I was so emotional"

The satellites have been placed in orbit as planned, a significant success for Epsilon. "I was too emotional, without words," Japanese news agency Jiji Lena Okajima, president of the ALE firm, told the story of the fake meteorite show, which will be repeated 20 to 30 times. .

Artificial meteors shower over Japan

The ALE satellite, orbiting 500 kilometers above the Earth, will gradually descend to 400 kilometers over the next year. Another is supposed to join him in a few months.

ALE would like to dream of "the whole world" with "shooting stars on command" ejected at the right place, at the right speed and in the right direction, according to a technical process kept secret.

ALE Promotion Movie

Stars (of various colors) should shine for several seconds before being completely consumed. If all goes well and the sky is clear, the event of 2020 could be visible to millions of people, including in remote urban areas and strong light pollution like Tokyo, according to the firm.

Related link & article:

ALE Co.:

Successfully launch of Epsilon-4 carrying RAPIS 1

Images, Animation, Video, Text, Credits: AFP/ALE Co., Ltd./ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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vendredi 18 janvier 2019

International collaboration publishes concept design for a post-LHC future circular collider at CERN

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

18 January, 2019

On 15 January, the Future Circular Collider (FCC) collaboration submitted its Conceptual Design Report (CDR) for publication 

Image above: A collection of photos (following bellow) related to the FCC study, reflecting the different aspects of the project and the ongoing R&D activities to advance new technologies that can guarantee a reliable and sustainable operation. (Image: CERN).

Geneva. On 15 January, the Future Circular Collider (FCC) collaboration submitted its Conceptual Design Report (CDR) for publication, a four-volume document that presents the different options for a large circular collider of the future. It showcases the great physics opportunities offered by machines of unprecedented energy and intensity and describes the technical challenges, cost and schedule for realisation.

Over the next two years, the particle physics community will be updating the European Strategy for Particle Physics, outlining the future of the discipline beyond the horizon of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The roadmap for the future should, in particular, lead to crucial choices for research and development in the coming years, ultimately with a view to building the particle accelerator that will succeed the LHC and will be able to significantly expand our knowledge of matter and the universe. The new CDR contributes to the European Strategy. The possibility of a future circular collider will be examined during the strategy process, together with the other post-LHC collider option at CERN, the CLIC linear collider.

Artist's view of  Tunnel Interiors. Image Credit: CERN

The FCC study started in 2014 and stems directly from the previous update of the European Strategy, approved in May 2013, which recommended that design and feasibility studies be conducted in order for Europe “to be in a position to propose an ambitious post-LHC accelerator project at CERN by the time of the next Strategy update”. The FCC would provide electron-positron, proton-proton and ion-ion collisions at unprecedented energies and intensities, with the possibility of electron-proton and electron-ion collisions.

“The FCC conceptual design report is a remarkable accomplishment. It shows the tremendous potential of the FCC to improve our knowledge of fundamental physics and to advance many technologies with a broad impact on society”, said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. “While presenting new, daunting challenges, the FCC would greatly benefit from CERN’s expertise, accelerator complex and infrastructures, which have been developed over more than half a century.”

Image above: The FCC study prepared a conceptual design of a 100km long ring accelerator, that uses CERN's existing accelerator infrastructure. Image Credit: CERN.

The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC opened a new path for research, as the Higgs boson could be a door into new physics. Detailed studies of its properties are therefore a priority for any future high-energy physics accelerator. The different options explored by the FCC study offer unique opportunities to study the nature of the Higgs boson. In addition, experimental evidence requires physics beyond the Standard Model to account for observations such as dark matter and the domination of matter over antimatter. The search for new physics, for which a future circular collider would have a vast discovery potential, is therefore of paramount importance to making significant progress in our understanding of the universe.

The FCC design study was a huge effort, possible only thanks to a large international collaboration. Over five years and with the strong support of the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 programme, the FCC collaboration involved more than 1300 contributors from 150 universities, research institutes and industrial partners who actively participated in the design effort and the R&D of new technologies to prepare for the sustainable deployment and efficient operation of a possible future circular collider.

Designing the Future Circular Collider

“The FCC’s ultimate goal is to provide a 100-kilometre superconducting proton accelerator ring, with an energy of up to 100 TeV, meaning an order of magnitude more powerful than the LHC”, said CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frédérick Bordry. “The FCC timeline foresees starting with an electron-positron machine, just as LEP preceded the LHC. This would enable a rich programme to benefit the particle physics community throughout the twenty-first century.”

Using new-generation high-field superconducting magnets, the FCC proton collider would offer a wide range of new physics opportunities. Reaching energies of 100 TeV and beyond would allow precise studies of how a Higgs particle interacts with another Higgs particle, and thorough exploration of the role of the electroweak-symmetry breaking in the history of our universe. It would also allow us to access unprecedented energy scales, looking for new massive particles, with multiple opportunities for great discoveries. In addition, it would also collide heavy ions, sustaining a rich heavy-ion physics programme to study the state of matter in the early universe.

FCC cutaway. Image Credit: CERN

“Proton colliders have been the tool-of-choice for generations to venture new physics at the smallest scale. A large proton collider would present a leap forward in this exploration and decisively extend the physics programme beyond results provided by the LHC and a possible electron-positron collider.” said CERN Director for Research and Computing, Eckhard Elsen.

A 90-to-365-GeV electron-positron machine with high luminosity could be a first step. Such a collider would be a very powerful “Higgs factory”, making it possible to detect new, rare processes and measure the known particles with precisions never achieved before. These precise measurements would provide great sensitivity to possible tiny deviations from the Standard Model expectations, which would be a sign of new physics.

Image above:Artistic impression of a collision event at the centre of a future detector following preliminary design studies. Image Credit: CERN.

The cost of a large circular electron-positron collider would be in the 9-billion-euro range, including 5 billion euros for the civil engineering work for a 100-kilometre tunnel. This collider would serve the worldwide physics community for 15 to 20 years. The physics programme could start by 2040 at the end of the High-Luminosity LHC. The cost estimate for a superconducting proton machine that would afterwards use the same tunnel is around 15 billion euros. This machine could start operation in the late 2050s.

The complex instruments required for particle physics inspire new concepts, innovation and groundbreaking technologies, which benefit other research disciplines and eventually find their way into many applications that have a significant impact on the knowledge economy and society. A future circular collider would offer extraordinary opportunities for industry, helping to push the limits of technology further. It would also provide exceptional training for a new generation of researchers and engineers.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Conceptual Design Report (CDR) :

European Strategy for Particle Physics:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

CLIC linear collider:

Higgs boson:

High-Luminosity LHC:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Images (mentioned), video, Text, Credit: CERN.

Best regards,