This project is a School organised around the astrophysical GAIA satellite, a European Space Agency project, candidate for the next corner stone mission of the ESA science programme. The conference will take place in les Houches (near Grenoble, France) in collaboration with the "Centre de Physiques des Houches".
The GAIA mission will provide a stereoscopic and kinematic map of our Galaxy at micro-arcsec level accuracy and will yield more than one percent - one billion star - of the Galactic stellar population with the precision necessary to unravel its composition, formation scenario and subsequent evolution. Additional scientific products include characterisation of tens of thousands of extra-solar planetary systems and also stringent tests of general relativity.
A large community of European astrophysicists covering wide fields and different specialities are involved in the GAIA project. Highlights results that will be obtained by this space observatory are being published in a "red book" explaining how this prograrnme would characterise the structure and evolution of stars and our Galaxy in a manner completely impossible using other methods. The main goal of organising this conference is to open this project to the full astronomical community and to train new young scientists in the direction of the most promising and exciting project concerning the understanding of the history of the Universe from a complete survey and detailed sampling of the local Universe.