European probes this year will return a treasure trove of data from explorations into the Big Bang, water on Mars and climate change, European Space Agency (ESA) chief Jean-Jacques Dordain said on Thursday.

On February 22, scientists will report back on the Soil Moisture and Salinity (SMOS) mission, in which a satellite launched in 2009 is mapping Earth’s land surface and oceans for changes linked to global warming. On March 21, astrophysicists will release the first all-sky map of Cosmic Microwave Background the backwash of ancient radiation from the creation of the Universe 14 billion years ago. — AFP