ARIEL

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ARIEL
Mission type Space observatory
Operator ESA · ARIEL Consortium
Website ariel-spacemission.eu
Mission duration 4 years[1]
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass ~1,300 kg (2,900 lb)[2]
Dry mass ~950 kg (2,090 lb)
Payload mass ~300 kg (660 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 2028
Rocket Ariane 6-2
Launch site
Contractor Arianespace
Main Cassegrain reflector
Diameter oval: 1.1 m × 0.7 m
Collecting area 0.64 m2
Wavelengths visible and near-infrared

A grey opaque circle with the word "ARIEL" written in white across the circle's bottom half. A series of concentric circles close in on the black-colored dot in the "I", with the last circle colored yellow, representing an exoplanet transiting in front of a star.
Official mission insignia

← PLATO
ATHENA →

The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL), is a space observatory planned for launch in 2028 as the fourth medium-class mission of the European Space Agency's Cosmic Vision programme. The mission is aimed at observing at least 1,000 known exoplanets using the transit method, studying and characterising the planets' chemical composition and thermal structures.

Mission[edit]

ARIEL will observe 1,000 planets orbiting distant stars and make the first large-scale survey of the chemistry of exoplanet atmospheres.[3] The objective is to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve.[4] A spectrometer will spread the light into a spectrum ('rainbow') and determine the chemical fingerprints of gases in the planets' atmospheres.[4] This will enable scientists to understand how the chemistry of a planet links to the environment in which it forms, and how its formation and evolution are affected by its parent star.[4] ARIEL will study a diverse population of exoplanets in a wide variety of environments, but it will focus on warm and hot planets in orbits close to their star.[4]

The ARIEL mission was developed by a consortium of various institutions from eleven member states of the European Space Agency (ESA),[a] and international contributors from four countries.[b] The project is led by principal investigator Professor Giovanna Tinetti of the University College London,[6][7] who had previously led the unsuccessful Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EcHO) proposal for the M3 Cosmic Vision launch slot.[8][9] Operations of the mission and the spacecraft will be handled jointly by ESA and the consortium behind the mission's development, through a coordinated Instrument Operations and Science Data Centre (IOSDC).[5] A Mission Operations Centre (MOC) will be set up at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, while a concurrent ARIEL Science Operations Centre (SOC) will be set up at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) near Madrid, Spain.[5] The MOC will be responsible for the spacecraft itself, while the SOC will be responsible for archiving mission data and scientific data downlinked from the spacecraft. The IOSDC will help develop results from the mission based on data received by the SOC.[5]

In August 2017 NASA conditionally selected Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets (CASE) as a Partner Mission of Opportunity, pending the result of ESA's Cosmic Vision selection.[10] Under the proposal NASA would provide two fine guidance sensors for the ARIEL spacecraft in return for the participation of US scientists in the mission.[11]

Spacecraft[edit]

The design of the ARIEL spacecraft is based on that intended for the Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO) mission, and has heritage from the thermal design of Planck.[5][12] The body of the spacecraft is split into two distinct modules known as the Service Module (SVM) and the Payload Module (PLM). The SVM is shaped as a 'sandwich' structure, consisting of three aluminum V-Grooves and three pairs of low conductivity fibreglass bipod struts supporting the PLM.[12] A basic horizontal telescope configuration is used for the PLM itself, housing all of the spacecraft's scientific instruments and its oval 1.1 × 0.7 metre (3.6 × 2.3 feet) primary mirror.[12][13] At launch, the spacecraft will have a fuelled mass of ~1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb), and will have a dry mass of ~950 kilograms (2,090 lb).[13] The PLM will account for around 300 kilograms (660 lb) of that mass.[13]

Telescope[edit]

The ARIEL telescope's assembly is an off-axis Cassegrain telescope followed by a third parabolic mirror to recollimate the beam. The telescope uses an oval 1.1 × 0.7 metre (3.6 × 2.3 feet) primary mirror; the system has a diffraction limit of about 3 µm, and a focal ratio (f) of 13.4.[14] The system will acquire images in the visible and near-infrared spectrum.[14] Its infrared spectroscope will operate between 1.95 µm and 7.8 µm, which requires to be passively cooled to a temperature of -218°C (55 K).[5][14]

Launch and trajectory[edit]

The ARIEL spacecraft will be launched in mid-2028 by Arianespace's 6-2 variant of its Ariane 6 rocket,[15][16] currently in development.[17][18] It will be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana,[15][16] from the l'Ensemble de Lancement Ariane 4 (Ariane Launch Area 4) being purpose-built for future Ariane 6 launches.[19] ARIEL will be launched to the L2 Lagrangian point, in a position located at a distance of 1,500,000 kilometres (930,000 mi) from Earth,[15] where it will benefit from the planet's blockage of light from the Sun to "maximise" the potential for exoplanet targets.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

Citations

  1. ^ ARIEL Summary. ESA.
  2. ^ ARIEL Spacecraft. ESA.
  3. ^ ARIEL Space Mission - A Candidate for the ESA M4 Mission. 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d ARIEL exoplanet mission selected as ESA’s next medium-class science mission. World Press. 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g European Space Agency, ARIEL Science Study Team (March 2017). "(ESA/SCI(2017)2) ARIEL – Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey" (PDF). ARIEL Science Mission. ARIEL Consortium. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  6. ^ Amos, Jonathan (20 March 2018). "Discovering the nature of planets". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  7. ^ Gibney, Elizabeth (20 March 2018). "First space mission dedicated to exoplanet atmospheres gets green light". Nature. Nature Publishing Group (Holtzbrinck Publishing Group). Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Gewin, Virginia (14 April 2011). "Turning point: Giovanna Tinetti". Nature. Nature Publishing Group (Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. 472 (7342): 251–251. doi:10.1038/nj7342-251a. ISSN 1476-4687. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  9. ^ European Space Agency (21 February 2014). "ESA selects planet-hunting PLATO mission". Astronomy. Kalmbach Publishing. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  10. ^ "NASA Selects Proposals to Study Galaxies, Stars, Planets". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 28 April 2018. 
  11. ^ "FINESSE and ARIEL + CASE: Dedicated Transit Spectroscopy Missions for the Post-TESS Era" (PDF). NASA Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG). Retrieved 28 April 2018. 
  12. ^ a b c Science & Technology Portal staff (20 March 2018). "ARIEL: Spacecraft". ESA Science & Technology Portal. European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c ARIEL Space Mission staff. "Facts & Figures". ARIEL Space Mission. ARIEL Consortium. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c ARIEL - Payload. ESA. 20 March 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Science & Technology Portal staff (20 March 2018). "ESA's next science mission to focus on nature of exoplanets". ESA Science & Technology Portal. European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c Warren, Melissa (20 March 2018). "UK part of ARIEL exoplanet project selected as ESA's next medium-class science mission". Science and Technology Facilities Council. Her Majesty's Government. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  17. ^ Amos, Jonathan (22 June 2017). "Full thrust on Europe's new Ariane 6 rocket". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  18. ^ Pultarova, Tereza (25 October 2017). "ArianeGroup CFO Pierre Godart on Ariane 6 cost savings, micro launchers and reusability". SpaceNews. Pocket Ventures, LLC. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  19. ^ Euronews staff (14 December 2017). "Race to build Ariane 6 rocket launch pad". Euronews. Media Globe Networks and NBCUniversal. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 

External links[edit]

  • ARIEL official website
  • ARIEL at the European Space Agency