Ariel: ESA's Next Science Mission to Focus on Nature of Exoplanets

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Ariel: ESA's Next Science Mission to Focus on Nature of Exoplanets

Post by bystander » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:36 pm

ESA's Next Science Mission to Focus on Nature of Exoplanets
ESA | Cosmic Vision | Ariel | 2018 Mar 20

The nature of planets orbiting stars in other systems will be the focus for ESA’s fourth medium-class science mission, to be launched in mid 2028.

Ariel, the Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey mission, was selected by ESA today as part of its Cosmic Vision plan.

The mission addresses one of the key themes of Cosmic Vision: What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life?

Thousands of exoplanets have already been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits, but there is no apparent pattern linking these characteristics to the nature of the parent star. In particular, there is a gap in our knowledge of how the planet’s chemistry is linked to the environment where it formed, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s evolution.

Ariel will address fundamental questions on what exoplanets are made of and how planetary systems form and evolve by investigating the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting different types of stars, enabling the diversity of properties of both individual planets as well as within populations to be assessed. ...

The mission will focus on warm and hot planets, ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars, taking advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres to decipher their bulk composition. ...

UCL to lead European mission to study new planets
University College London | 2018 Mar 20

UK team to lead European mission to study new planets
UK Space Agency | 2018 Mar 20
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor

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JPL: CASE to Probe Planet Clouds on ARIEL

Post by bystander » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:48 pm

NASA Instrument to Probe Planet Clouds on European Mission
NASA | JPL-Caltech | CASE | 2019 Nov 08
NASA will contribute an instrument to a European space mission that will explore the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun, or exoplanets, for the first time.

The instrument, called the Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets, or CASE, adds scientific capabilities to ESA's (the European Space Agency's) Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, or ARIEL, mission.

The ARIEL spacecraft with CASE on board is expected to launch in 2028. CASE will be managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with JPL astrophysicist Mark Swain as the principal investigator. ...

ARIEL will be able to see the chemical fingerprints, or "spectra," of a planet's atmosphere in the light of its star. To do this, the spacecraft will observe starlight streaming through the atmospheres of planets as they pass in front their stars, as well as light emitted by the planets' atmospheres just before and after they disappear behind their stars. These fingerprints will allow scientists to study the compositions, temperatures, and chemical processes in the atmospheres of the planets ARIEL observes. ...

The CASE instrument will be sensitive to light at near-infrared wavelengths, which is invisible to human eyes, as well as visible light. This complements ARIEL's other instrument, called an infrared spectrometer, which operates at longer wavelengths. CASE will specifically look at exoplanets' clouds and hazes - determining how common they are, as well how they influence the compositions and other properties of planetary atmospheres. CASE will also allow measurements of each planet's albedo, the amount of light the planet reflects. ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor