Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
EPSC Abstracts
Vol.14, EPSC2020-696, 2020, updated on 08 Oct 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ariel Phase B

Giovanna Tinetti1, Paul Eccleston2, Theresa Lueftinger3, Goran Pilbratt3, Ludovic Puig3, and the Ariel team*
Giovanna Tinetti et al.
  • 1University College London, Physics and Astronomy, London, United Kingdom (
  • 2RAL Space, Harwell Campus, Didcot, UK
  • 3ESA ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Ariel was selected as the fourth medium-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme in the spring 2018. This paper provides an overall summary of the science and baseline design derived during the phase A and consolidated during the phase B1.

During its 4-year mission, Ariel will study what exoplanets are made of, how they formed and how they evolve, by surveying a diverse sample of about 1000 extrasolar planets, simultaneously in visible and infrared wavelengths. 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.

Transit, eclipse and phase-curve spectroscopy means that no angular resolution is required. The satellite is best placed into an L2 orbit to maximise the thermal stability and the field of regard. Detailed performance studies have demonstrated that the current mission design will achieve the necessary precision to observe all the Ariel target candidates within the mission lifetime.  

The baseline integrated payload consists of 1-metre class, all-aluminium, off-axis Cassegrain telescope, feeding a collimated beam into two separate instrument modules. A combined Fine Guidance System / VIS-Photometer / NIR-Spectrometer contains 3 channels of photometry between 0.50 µm and 1.1 µm, of which two will also be used as a redundant system for provided guidance and closed-loop control to the AOCS. One further low resolution (R = ~15 spectrometer in the 1.1 µm – 1.95 µm waveband is also accommodated here. The other instrument module, the ARIEL IR Spectrometer (AIRS), provides spectral resolutions of between 30 – 100 for a waveband between 1.95 µm and 7.8 µm. The payload module is passively cooled to ~55 K by isolation from the spacecraft bus via a series of V-Groove radiators; the detectors for the AIRS are the only items that require active cooling to <42 K via an active Ne JT cooler. 

The Ariel mission payload is developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 17 ESA countries, which include the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Norway, Estonia, Germany and Sweden. A NASA contribution was approved in November 2019.

Ariel team:

Anna Aret, Tartu Observatory, Estonia; Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, IAP, France; Lars Buchhave, DTU, Denmark; Martin Ferus, Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry, Czech Republic; Matt Griffin, Cardiff University UK; Manuel Guedel, University of Vienna, Austria; Paul Hartogh, Max Planck Sonnnensystem, Germany; Pierre-Olivier Lagage**, CEA, France; Pedro Machado, IA - Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Portugal; Giuseppe Malaguti, INAF-OAS Bologna, Italy; Giusi Micela**, INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Italy; Michiel Min**, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, the Netherlands; Enric Palle, IAC, Spain; Mirek Rataj, Space Research Centre, Polish Academy of Science, Poland; Tom Ray, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Ireland; Ignasi Ribas, IEEC, Spain; Robert Szabo, Konkoly Observatory, Hungary; Mark Swain, JPL, US; Jonathan Tan, Chalmers University, Sweden; Bart Vandenbussche**, University of Leuven, Belgium; Stephanie Werner, University of Oslo, Norway; Andrew Caldwell, RAL Space, UK; Gustavo Alonso, UPM, Spain; Jerome Amiaux, CEA, France; Georgia Bishop, RAL Space, UK; Neil Bowles, University of Oxford, UK; Martin Crook, RAL TD, UK; Lucile Desjonqueres, RAL Space, UK; Jose J. Diaz, IAC, Spain; Mauro Focardi, INAF-OAA; Jose M. Gomez, IEEC, Spain; Tom Hunt, MSSL, UK; Gianluca Morgante, INAF - OAS Bologna, Italy; Marc Ollivier, IAS Paris, France; Roland Ottensamer, University of Vienna, Austria; Emanuele Pace, Università di Firenze, Italy; Enzo Pascale, La Sapienza Università di Roma; Chris Pearson, RAL Space, UK; Giorgio Savini, UCL, UK; Richard Stamper, RAL Space, UK; Francesc Vilardell, IEEC, Spain; Rachel Drummond, RAL Space, UK; Michel Berthé, CEA, France; Emanuele Pace, Uni di Firenze, Italy; Josep Colomé, IEEC – CSIC, Spain; Pniel Moché, JPL, US; Deirdre Coffey, DIAS, Ireland; Søren Møller Pedersen, DTU, Denmark; Manuel Abreu, IA, Portugal; Joanna Barstow, UCL, UK; Luca Borsato, University of Padova, Italy; Quentin Changeat, UCL, UK; Benjamin Charnay, Observatoire de Paris, France; Svatopluk Civiš, Heyrovsky Institute, Czech Republic; Vincent Coudé du Foresto, LESIA, France; Athena Coustenis, LESIA, France; Nicholas Cowan, McGill University, Canada; Camilla Danielski, CEA, France; Olivier Demangeon IA- Portugal; Pierre Drossart, IAP, France; Billy N. Edwards, UCL, UK; Gabriella Gilli IA- Portugal; Therese Encrenaz, LESIA, France; Mihkel Kama, UCL, UK; Csaba Kiss, Konkoly Observatory, Hungary, Anastasia Kokori, Royal Museums Greenwich, UK; Carole Haswell**, OU; Ravit Helled, University of Zurich, Switzerland; Masahiro Ikoma, University of Tokyo, Japan; Jérémy Leconte**, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux; Juan Carlos Morales, IEEC, Spain; Pierre- João Mendonça, DTU, Denmark; Yamila Miguel, University of Leiden, the Netherlands; Andrea Moneti, IAP, France; Lorenzo Mugnai, La Sapienza, Italy; Antonio García Muñoz, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany; Nikos Nikolaou, UCL, UK; Norio Narita, University of Tokyo, Japan; Isabella Pagano, INAF, Italy; Olja Panic, Leeds, UK, Miriam Rengel, MPS, Germany; Marco Rocchetto, Konica Minolta; Subhajit Sarkar, Cardiff University, UK; Franck Selsis, Université de Bordeaux, France; Jonathan Tennyson, UCL, UK; Leonardo Testi**, ESO; Diego Turrini**, INAF-IAPS, Italy; Angelos Tsiaras, UCL, UK; Olivia Venot, LISA, France; Krisztián Vida, Konkoly Observatory, Hungary, Ingo P. Waldmann, UCL, UK; Sergey Yurchenko, UCL, UK; Gyula Szabo, University of Eötvös Loránd, Hungary; Maria-Rosa Zapatero Osorio**, CSIC-INTA, Spain; Rob Zellem, JPL, US. ** ESA Science Advisory Team members

How to cite: Tinetti, G., Eccleston, P., Lueftinger, T., Pilbratt, G., and Puig, L. and the Ariel team: Ariel Phase B, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-696,, 2020