Summer School Alpbach 2017
The Dusty Universe
July 18-27, Alpbach/Tyrol – Austria
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The Summer School Programme

Dust particles pervade the Universe, from the Solar System to remote galaxies. Although dust represents only a small fraction of the total mass, its role in our perception and the evolution of the Universe is significant. Dust particles strongly affect the signals we receive throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, being strong absorbers and reemitters of radiation. They also are an important agent in cosmic evolution, as a main coolant of the interstellar medium for star formation, and as the seeds around which planets eventually form. Understanding dust, its role in and as a diagnostic for cosmic evolution has tremendously benefited from space missions covering the electromagnetic spectrum from X-rays to mm wavelengths, and will do so in the future.

Observing dust particles is best done in infrared light. Space missions observing in the infrared part of the spectrum (for example ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory(ISO) and Herschel missions, NASA’s Spitzer mission) have discovered new and important features of dust in interstellar space and beyond. The topic is rich in future observational possibilities. During the Summer School Alpbach 2017, student teams will conceive and elaborate innovative satellite missions using imaginative concepts.

The format of the Summer School 2017

Lectures during the Summer School will provide an overview on dust in the Universe, its composition and structure and associated scientific challenges, justifications why and how to observe dust remotely.

The aim of the lectures is to present the current knowledge and gaps in our understanding to enable the students to select and formulate objectives for new space missions.

The lectures offered will cover existing and planned space missions, space mission design, and the principles of instrumentation for the required observations including in-situ measurements of dust. The lectures will provide the students with the scientific and technical background needed for defining and elaborating innovative space missions observing dust in the Universe.

Four student teams will be setup to define the scientific objectives of a space mission and a preliminary end-to-end mission design including the spacecraft, scientific instruments, mission and science operations that will meet the stated objectives.