Planck Timeline

Concept and Proposal

1993–1996

What is now the Planck mission began as two separate missions: COBRAS and SAMBA. The two were combined into a single mission in 1993, initially known just as the "COBRAS/SAMBA mission", and wasn't renamed Planck until 1996. In terms of frequencies observed and technology used, the COBRAS and SAMBA missions correspond loosely to the LFI and HFI instruments on the final Planck mission. Below are some sketches of the SAMBA concept, drawn by Jean-Michelle Lamarre (Observatoire de Paris) in 1993.

Conceptual sketch of SAMBA (Jean-Michelle Lamarre)

Image credit and copyright: Jean-Michelle Lamarre, Observatoire de Paris

Sketch of SAMBA optical design
Image of Planck optics

Image credit and copyright: Jean-Michelle Lamarre, Observatoire de Paris

Image credit: ESA

Since these conceptual drawings, some parts of the mission design have changed substantially, such as the overall satellite design. Others, however, have not changed much at all. For example, the arrangement of the mirrors is still very much the same, as you can see by comparing the two images above. The mirrors have got bigger, though this is primarily a result of combining this SAMBA project with the COBRAS project, which works at lower frequency and therefore requires a larger mirror, and the arrangement of the horns which collect the microwave radiation focused by the mirrors.

Concept and Proposal