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  • 'Magnificent 7' Unveiled
Sep 2008
BRUSSELS, Sept. 30, 2008 – Aspera, a network of European government agencies responsible for coordinating and funding national research efforts in astroparticle physics, have revealed their ‘To Do’ list to the world.

Gamma Ray seen here in what Aspera calles the Magic Experiment. Photo courtesy of Aspera/R. Wagner/MPI for Physics, Munich, Germany.

Their strategy for the future of astropartilce physics includes answering several exciting questions, such as the make-up of dark matter, the origin of cosmic rays, the role of violent cosmic processes, and whether or not we can detect gravitational waves.

With seven types of large-scale projects physicists with Aspera have proposed to answer the following questions:

• CTA, a large array of Cherenkov Telescopes for detection of cosmic high-energy gamma rays
• KM3NeT, a cubic kilometer-scale neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean Sea
• Ton-scale detectors for dark matter searches
• A ton-scale detector for the determination of the fundamental nature and mass of neutrinos
• A Megaton-scale detector for proton decay's search, neutrino astrophysics & investigation of neutrino properties
• A large array for the detection of charged cosmic rays
• A third-generation underground gravitational antenna

"New exciting discoveries lie ahead and it is up to us to take the lead on them in the next decade." said Christian Spiering from DESY – Germany, chairman of the Roadmap Committee. CTA.jpg

The CTA project. Photo courtesy of Aspera/D.Rouable.

After two years of roadmap process, the publication of The European Strategy for Astroparticle Physics is an important step for the field outlining a leading role for Europe in this increasingly globalized endeavour.

From undersea and underground laboratories to the most isolated deserts and outer space, astroparticle physics experiments accept very exciting challenges, according to Aspera. It is a rapidly growing field of research at the intersection of particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics, aiming to detect the most elusive particles, and to penetrate the most intimate secrets of the Universe.

To insure the coordination of astroparticle physics at the European level, research agencies from 13 countries joined their efforts within the Aspera European network, an ERA-Net funded by the European Commission.

"The timely realization of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ is a big challenge" says the coordinator of Aspera, Stavros Katsanevas, IN2P3/CNRS professor – France, "But we are confident that none will be killed contrary to what happens in the film, as the European agencies and ApPEC support these priorities and the same also emerge in other continents. It is important that we coordinate and share costs not only inside Europe but on a global scale."
European astroparticle physicists also affirmed their support to Earth- and space-based missions to explore the phenomenon of dark energy, to the concept of a cooperative network of deep underground laboratories, and to a common call for innovative technologies in the field of astroparticle physics. In addition, they declared their wish to see the formation of a European Centre for Astroparticle Physics Theory.

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gravitational waves
Postulated by Einstein in his theory of relativity. They are waves traveling at the speed of light and exerting force on matter in their path. They are produced by changes in the distribution of matter.
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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