The "M-Matisse" project, in which the Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Planetary Research, is also involved, has successfully advanced in the ESA selection process this month, November 2023. It has not only secured its position among five applicants, alongside two others, and it now faces competition from just these two more potential missions.
Throughout the last three phases of the selection process, the "M-Matisse" project has consistently demonstrated success. When it entered the competition in early 2022, there were originally 26 competitors. However, by the end of the same year, this number was reduced to just 10 applicants. By the close of 2022, only 5 contenders remained. It is only now, at the end of 2023, that the project has officially advanced to the final phase (Phase A) among the three most promising proposals. While there is only one more round of selection by the ESA, ultimately, only one of the three missions will be chosen.
"M-Matisse" is a project involving two spacecraft equipped with identical instruments tasked with studying Mars. They are designed to simultaneously observe the planet from two different perspectives. The mission aims to shed light on the influence of the solar wind on Mars's atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere, with a particular focus on understanding the impact of these interactions on the Martian lower atmosphere and surface. This research is crucial for unraveling the Red Planet's habitability and the evolution of its atmosphere and climate.
Further information on ESA's Website: ESA – Final three for ESA’s next medium science mission