A unique instrument for the biggest telescope


The Consortium includes countries in the core of the project (Partners :  France,  United Kingdom,  The Netherlands,  Germany) as well as other participating countries (Associate Partners :  Austria,  Brazil,  Finland,  Italy,  Portugal,  Spain,  Sweden,  Switzerland, together with University of Michigan and STScI in the  USA) including those interested in financially supporting the project in exchange of Guaranteed Observing Time or in participation in Public Surveys. Partners within the MOSAIC consortium have a long and successful heritage of instrument delivery for ESO, including: FORS, FLAMES, KMOS, MUSE, SPHERE, NACO, VIMOS, and X-SHOOTER. They gather a unique worldwide expertise in conceiving, designing, and building multi-object spectrographs, integral field units, and adaptive optics driven instruments.

The Lead Technical Institute (LTI) will be Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique acting on behalf of its laboratories: GEPI (CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Univ. Paris-Diderot), LESIA (CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Univ. Paris-Diderot, Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie), LAM (CNRS, Univ. Marseille) and IRAP (CNRS, Univ. Toulouse). The PI (F. Hammer), the PM (TBD) as well as key science and technical responsibilities (Co PS, dep. PM, dep. IS, dep. PM, dep. SE in charge of end-to-end optical design, PAM, IT, administrative support) will all be gathered within the Project Office hosted at the Observatoire de Paris (OP). OP will also lead key WPs such as AO implementation, fibre system design and DRS. The AIT will be performed at the LAM site of the LTI. A full support for this phase A will be organized by INSU/CNRS. The LTI has proven its record in managing, constructing and delivering of major astronomical instruments. 

Partners short description

GEPI (Galaxies, Etoiles, Physique, Instrumentation) comprises a scientific team (stellar and extragalactic research community) and an instrumental division. Understanding the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies requires the use of an increasing number of techniques that are available within GEPI. Its instrumental group (34 engineers and technicians) contributes to the design and construction of instruments for the ESO-Very Large Telescope (Giraffe, X Shooter, MOONS and also, in collaboration with LESIA, SPHERE, CANARY as a MOSAIC path finder). GEPI will host MOSAIC PI & PM as well as dep. PS & dep. IS and, in engineering, the dep. SE in charge of the E2E optical design. GEPI will lead the DRS, Simulations, SOST and will collaborate to the implementation of the SOSC.

IRAP (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie) realized the Fore-Optics opto-mechanical structure and was a major contributor to the control hardware and software of the VLT-MUSE instrument. IRAP is also currently involved in the development of MUSE data analysis softwares. Scientists and engineers wish to bring to the MOSAIC consortium their expertise in ESO instrumentation and especially in EICS (Electronics & Instrument Control Software) WP.

LAM (Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille) is a space laboratory and its main science theme is on galaxy formation and evolution and cosmology. LAM technical skills in instrument development are in optics & mechanics from design to AIT/V, system engineering, project management, product assurance. LAM also hosts a data center (CeSAM) and a team from ONERA. LAM has participated to the Herschel, Rosetta, GALEX, SOHO and CoRoT space missions, and is leading the development of the NISP instrument for the EUCLID mission. LAM has developed the VIMOS & IRDIS/SPHERE instruments for the VLT and is participating to the PFS (Subaru) and DESI projects. LAM will participate to the SOSC WP, to the system engineering and project management and will lead the AIT/V activities.

LESIA (Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique) is composed of around 230 staff members and students and is involved in Space and Ground-Based instrumentation. It has R&D and AIT laboratories, clean rooms and workshops. For this project, the expertise is in Adaptive Optics with a team gathering 6 science and 7 engineer permanent staff. LESIA have had a major involvement in a number of VLT instruments: the NAOS near IR AO system, the SPHERE Extreme AO spectro-polarimeter imager of Exoplanets and the GRAVITY astrometry and imaging interferometer. It is co-leader of the CANARY on-sky testbed for MOAO. LESIA is responsible for the SOSC WP and, in particular, for the AO design.

In order to meet the needs of MOSAIC, the LTI Project Office will lean on fully identified laboratories known for their excellence in the key domains that are expected within MOSAIC:

UK ATC (UK Astronomy Technology Centre) is well known both for leading and integrating large projects (such as KMOS for VLT, SUBA2 for the JCMT, Michelle for UKIRT) and for contributing sub assemblies to projects (such as the IFUs for MIRI, pick off arms for KMOS, spectrometer for Michelle). All the required engineering and science disciplines are available for supporting the MOSAIC project. UKATC will be involved in ICOS and SPES WP and will host both the PS (C. Evans) and the SE (E. Fitzsimons).

CfAI (Centre for Advanced Instrumentation), Durham University is involved in the ICOS and SOSC packages. Durham will also host the deputy System Engineer in charge of AO as well as the deputy System Engineer in charge of the ‘End to End’ mechanical Design. CfAI is composed of around 25 science and 15 technical staff plus 15 PhD students and has a large instrument AIT facility, clean rooms, fully equipped testing labs and workshops. The expertise of CfAI is mostly in Adaptive Optics and Spectroscopy. Recently CfAI have led or had a major involvement in the KMOS near-IR multi-object spectrograph, the DESI fibre system workpackage and the High Resolution Spectrograph for SALT. In Adaptive Optics the latest projects include CANARY the on-sky testbed for AO for the E-ELT and the SPARTA real-time control system and High Order Testbench for ESO.

Oxford and RALSpace will be mainly involved in the POS (Positioning unit) WP. They have strong links in ground-based instrumentation with shared experience on delivering instruments for imaging (VISTA-VIRCAM), multi-object spectroscopy (FMOS, KMOS, WEAVE and HARMONI) and the systems engineering and integration (at RAL) of large cryogenic and space facilities (VISTA-VIRCAM, ALMA FEIC, Herschel-SPIRE, JWST MIRI). Oxford staff have had critical involvement in fibre spectroscopy and positioning systems for AUTOFIB/AF2, 2dF, FMOS-Echidna, HETDEX, MaNGA and WEAVE, and have made substantial contributions to the Phase A design studies for MUSE, WFMOS, OPTIMOS-EVE, GYES and 4MOST). University of Oxford will also host the IS (G. Dalton).

NOVA is the Netherlands research school for astronomy. This is a federation of all astronomy institutes at the universities in the Netherlands, that coordinates education, research and instrumentation efforts. NOVA also functions as the national home base for ESO and runs the optical-infrared (O/IR) instrumentation group. The O/IR group has been involved in the design, development and realization of numerous instruments including MIDI and MATISSE for the VLTI, XShooter, VISIR, SINFONI and SPHERE-ZIMPOL for the VLT, and WEAVE for the William Herschel Telescope. NOVA is the PI institute for the METIS instrument on the E-ELT, and is also involved in the development of MICADO & EPICS. In MOSAIC, NOVA will be involved in Spectrographs development within the SPES WP.

ONERA (Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales) is the French national aerospace research laboratory. Its High Angular Resolution [HRA] group is worldwide recognized as the precursor of the AO in Europe and still one of the European leaders in the domain (with some major realizations such as NAOS the first AO system of the VLT or SAXO the extreme AO system of SPHERE, the VLT-Planet finder). The group is strongly involved in ELT studies since their very beginning through the PIship of ATLAS, Co-PIship of MAORY and the responsible of EAGLE AO design in the first ELT phase A studies. In the MOSAIC consortium, ONERA, together with LAM (with whom a strong partnership around adaptive optics has been built) will participate to AO within the SOSC WP (system design, Laser and Natural Guide Stars wavefront sensing and AIT activities).

AIP (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam) has more than 20 years of experience with the development of astronomical instrumentation, many of them with optical fibre systems for high-resolution, integral-field and multi-object spectroscopy. Since 2008, the institute hosts innoFSPEC-Potsdam, the Centre for Innovation Competence for of fibre spectroscopy and sensing. The centre provides state-of-the-art labs for fibre assembly, testing,  application and astrophotonics research. Successful R&D projects of the AIP include PMAS at Calar Alto (PI) + CALIFA survey, RAVE + survey (PI), VIRUS + HETDEX survey, MUSE for the ESO-VLT, PEPSI for the LBT and 4MOST for the ESO-VISTA (PI). Within MOSAIC, AIP is in charge of the development of the fibre system (SOST) between focal plane of the ELT and the Visible and Near-IR Spectrographs

LSW Heidelberg (Landessternwarte Königstuhl) is active in the fields of stellar and extragalactic astrophysics. It is involved in the development and building of the Lucifer-spectrograph for the near infrared at the Large Binocular Telescope. In the domain of high-energy astrophysics the LSW participates in the H.E.S.S.-telescope in Namibia. Special emphasis is taken on active galaxies and quasars, a field of research which is also supported by optical observations. The stellar astrophysics groups at LSW are concerned with cool and hot stars as well as with wide-angle sky surveys for the oldest stars in the Milky Way. The technique of interferometry is developed for ESO telescopes (VLTI) and used especially for the search of extra-solar planets.

ESO (cryogenic design and construction, detectors) within the SPES WP. This involvement should fully apply during following design and construction Phases (Phases B to F). Nevertheless, ESO is expected to provide even during Phase A some contributions in these areas (especially handling of discussions with detector suppliers). In a post Phase A perspective, these involvements may evolve depending on the evolutions of the instrument design, staff availabilities and, last but not least, the ratification of Brazil to be within ESO. We notice that Brazil is part of the MOSAIC Board and very interested in being part of the effort to come. Furthermore, two Brazilian laboratories (IAG and LNA directed by B. Castilho for the SOST WP) are identified from now for their excellence and interest to join.

We keep the management simple by limiting to five the number of countries participating of the core-hardware work, especially on the basis of the existing strong collaborations between engineering teams (e.g., CANARY between OP & Durham, French collaborations on SPHERE and many space projects, French-Dutch collaboration on X-shooter...). However, several other countries or laboratories represented in the Steering Committee are welcome to contribute to the Science Case, to Science preparation and to the software/data analysis that involves mostly scientists and software engineers. Among them, Geneva Univ., Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma and INAF, Porto Univ., Sao Paulo Univ., Stockholm Univ., Lund Univ., Univ. Complutense de Madrid, Vienna Univ., Helsinki Univ., Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias have shown their interest to contribute in such a way.

Remark: Nevertheless, MOSAIC may, in the future (post Phase A activities), host new partners towards the development of specific sub-systems. If so, the WP benefiting from that contribution will have to be fully identified and will handle interface issues as well as costs, effort and schedule at the WP level. These possible contributions within the WPs will have to be transparent for the Project Office.