What is the Ariel Space Mission adopted by the European Space Agency?


Team Udayavani, Nov 14, 2020, 1:02 PM IST

The first mission dedicated to study the nature, formation, and evolution of exoplanets, named Ariel (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey), has been adopted by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The near-billion-euro observatory is now clear to launch in 2029. It will survey about 1000 planets outside our solar system during its lifetime

Ariel will probe the gases that shroud exoplanets to try to understand how these objects formed and how they have evolved through time.

It is the first mission dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of hundreds of transiting exoplanets, enabling planetary science far beyond the boundaries of the Solar System.

Exoplanets are planets that lie outside of the Solar System and orbit around stars other than the Sun. They are hard to identify as their not as bright as the other stars

As reported by  Innovation new network, Ariel will have a metre-class telescope primary mirror to collect visible and infrared light from distant star systems. An infrared spectrometer will spread the light into a ‘rainbow’ and extract the chemical fingerprints of gases in the planets’ atmospheres, which become embedded in starlight when a planet passes in front or behind the star.

A photometer, a spectrometer and guidance system will capture information on the presence on clouds in the atmospheres of the exoplanets and will allow the spacecraft to point to the target star with high stability and precision.

According to Indian Express, The search for exoplanets is driven by the possibility that life may exist beyond Earth and even if there is no evidence for this, scientists believe that their hunt for an answer will reveal details about where humans came from and where we’re headed.

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