Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-610, 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ariel - The ESA M4 Space Mission to Focus on the Nature Of Exoplanets

Theresa Lueftinger1, Giovanna Tinetti2, Paul Ecclestone3, Jean-Christophe Salvignol1, Salma Fahmy1, Pierre-Olivier Lagage4, Guisi Micela5, Enric Pallé6, Olja Panic7, Enzo Pascale8, Bart Vandenbussche9, and Olivia Venot10
Theresa Lueftinger et al.
  • 1ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
  • 2UCL London, London, UK
  • 3RAL Space, Oxfordshire, UK
  • 4CEA Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 5INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
  • 6Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
  • 7University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 8La Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • 9KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 10LISA, Créteil, France

Ariel, the atmospheric remote-sensing infrared exoplanet large-survey, is the recently adopted M4 mission within the Cosmic Vision science programme of ESA. The goal of Ariel is to investigate the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars in order to address the fundamental questions on how planetary systems form and evolve and to investigate in unprecedented detail the composition of a large number of exoplanetary atmospheres. During its 4-year mission, Ariel will observe hundreds of exoplanets ranging from Jupiter- and Neptune-size down to super-Earth size, in a wide variety of environments, in the visible and the infrared. The main focus of the mission will be on warm and hot planets in orbits close to their star. Some of the planets may be in the habitable zones of their stars, however. The analysis of Ariel spectra and photometric data will allow to extract the chemical fingerprints of gases and condensates in the planets’ atmospheres, including the elemental composition for the most favourable targets. The Ariel mission has been developed by a consortium of more than 60 institutes from 15 ESA member state countries, including UK, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, with an additional contribution from NASA. In this talk, we will review the science goals of the mission and give insight into the current status, both from the ESA and the Ariel Mission Consortium point of view.  

How to cite: Lueftinger, T., Tinetti, G., Ecclestone, P., Salvignol, J.-C., Fahmy, S., Lagage, P.-O., Micela, G., Pallé, E., Panic, O., Pascale, E., Vandenbussche, B., and Venot, O.: Ariel - The ESA M4 Space Mission to Focus on the Nature Of Exoplanets, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-610,, 2021.

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