The Technologies and Infrastructures Workshop for Planetary Exploration, Horizon 206, will take place April 23-25, 2018 at the SwissTech Convention Center, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland. The meeting will consist of a mix of plenary, keynote and submitted papers and posters, along with open and panel discussions.

Abstract must be submitted by February 23, 2018

For information on abstract submission, keynote speakers, and the workshop schedule, visit:

From the Planetary Exploration 2061 website:

In the last fifty years, space exploration of our Solar System has produced unprecedented progress in our knowledge of planets and small bodies, and in our understanding of how they work and of their global interaction processes. We have also generated a broad spectrum of open scientific questions about our Solar System.

With the « exoplanets revolution », which has discovered more than 4000 exoplanets grouped in over 600 multi-planets systems, our « burning » questions about the Solar System can now only be addressed in the broader context of the comparative study of planetary systems.

Following the first 50 years of initial explorations of the Solar System, the next fifty years, between now and the symbolic date of 2061, corresponding to the return of the Comet Halley in the inner Solar System and to the centennial anniversary of the first human space flight, will be largely driven by the key science questions we formulate today about small bodies, planets, and planetary systems.

Our first burning question about Planetary Systems is to understand where they come from, e.g. what are the initial conditions from which they are born in the interstellar medium; it is then natural to ask ourselves how the initial collapse of an interstellar cloud evolves into a circumstellar disk within which planets of different types can form; we need to understand the extraordinary diversity of the products of this early formation phase, planets and also planetary systems architectures, and how unique are the different categories of solar system planets and their spatial distributions; once formed, planets and their satellites interact and evolve: we want to understand how these complex systems work and how this working shapes the evolution of planetary bodies; we then need to understand how a small fraction of these bodies can become habitable, as a result of the combination of their initial formation conditions, of their intrinsic evolution and of their interactions with the planetary system to which they belong. Finally, once the diverse but restricted family of “habitable worlds” has been identified, searching for pieces of evidence of extant or extinct life associated with each of these bodies appears as an imperious scientific quest.

Throughout, our understanding of our own Solar will provide ground truth and a natural laboratory for our answers.

To address these Planetary Exploration questions, we need to make full use of the radical changes that we can foresee in the coming fifty years:

  • Key measurement must be performed through the many bodies of the solar systems and for these, missions need to be designed and tailored to the different targets.
  • New missions concepts including different robotic or manned vehicles will need to be designed targeting various Solar system planets or their moons.
  • In parallel Large Planetary Telescopes to study Exoplanets will have to be implemented.
  • Available and developing new technologies must be exploited to then in full.

Addressing these «question-driven» space missions will be extremely challenging technically. Their implementation will rest upon the identification, development, and use of advanced technologies and of adequate space infrastructures.

Workshop Goals:
During this meeting, we would like to discuss and brainstorm which are the key technologies and infrastructures required for planetary exploration in the next fifty years. We propose to review the current state-of-the-art technologies and the available infrastructures, from the present to a foreseeable future.

On this basis, we will then identify the new technology and infrastructure capacities that we will need to develop to make it possible to fly our priority science-driven space missions. This ambitious objective can be reached only by pooling the rich and diverse expertise available in space agencies, industry and the technology research community: these will lead the way forward to implement the space missions needed to answer our key questions.


  • Advanced Space Mobility (propulsion, elevator, RDV, spaceports, landing …)
  • Intelligent Spacecraft (autonomy, self-driving, onboard data processing, AI, …)
  • Advanced Communication (deep space, large data volume, low noise …)
  • Space manufacturing (3D printing, space FabLab, on-demand, additive, in space assembly …)
  • Future of sensors (new detectors, sensors, bio-sensors, network of sensors …)
  • Future Observatories for solar systems and exoplanets (Ground-based, space-based, in situ, science with commercial satellites …)
  • Sample returns and mining (curation, planetary protection, …)
  • Disruptive technologies
  • In most sessions, there will be 2 emphases: i) on the measurements and corresponding instruments, ii) on one the spacecraft capabilities.


  • Autonomy – advances in 50 years
  • Self-driving spacecraft
  • Power generation in the next 50 years
  • In Space propulsion in 2060, including the use of a space elevator for deep space planetary missions
  • Future capabilities for entry, descent, landing, mobility, ascent
  • Space tug, In orbit rendezvous, docking, in orbit planetary spacecraft assembly and fuelling
  • Deep Space Gateway. Spaceport for robotic and manned planetary exploration
  • The 2060’s generation of deep space telecommunication infrastructure
  • The 2060’s generation of ground segments for planetary missions
  • In space spacecraft manufacturing; on demand, (short timescale)
  • Mission design and spacecraft manufacturing, (in response to serendipitous opportunities: water plume, volcanic eruption, new comet discovery, Earth-threatening or extrasolar asteroid, etc…)
  • The 2060’s generation of Earth-based telescopes (for solar system objects and exoplanets)
  • The 2060’s generation of Space-based observatories (for solar system objects and exoplanets)
  • The 2060’s generation of in situ and remote sensing instruments,
  • The 2060’s generation of biological sensors
  • Onboard processing and analysis
  • Sampling, return capsules and curation, planetary protection requirements
  • Long development time next generation detectors
  • In situ resource exploitation
  • In space 3D printing, space FabLab
  • Science from commercial missions
  • Other disruptive technologies …