The European space Agency formally announced the approval of the construction and launch of the new ARIEL space telescope, which will study the atmospheres of exoplanets. The launch telescope is to take place somewhere in 2028.
“The main objective of this mission is to find interrelations between atmospheric composition of the planets and the conditions in which they are born. Other space telescopes are ground only on the search for new exoplanets and measuring their size and weight. ARIEL will help us to understand what they are, how they are formed and how they evolyutsioniruet”, — said the head of the mission Giovanna Tinetti.
Since the “Kepler” to date has opened more than 4,000 different exoplanets, astronomers wondered whether it is time to begin to build the tools that will allow analysis and evaluation on the question of whether life on these worlds, and would also help in the search for traces of life in the atmospheres of these planets.
Even existing and planned ground and space telescopes do not have sufficient sensitivity and resolution to study the atmosphere, even the closest, large and hot exoplanets. NASA and the European space Agency have been thinking about creating a new space telescopes that will be dedicated specifically to the search for traces of life and assess the habitability of other worlds. One of the first such telescopes will be ARIEL. About the project cost of 450 million euros, it became known two years ago, but now it has received official approval. To date on its implementation are scientists and engineers from several EU countries and other countries in the world.
During the mission, as scientists hope that ARIEL will study the atmosphere, more than 500 exoplanets, similar in its climate to Earth, but to Venus. Over the years, “Kepler” and ground-based telescopes it was discovered a few hundred planets, so scientists have long wanted to know how the analogs of the Earth can turn into such a scorched worlds.
The main feature and at the same time the advantage of ARIEL in front of other telescopes will be in the fact that the device will be able to obtain all necessary data on the composition of the atmosphere of a particular planet in just one pass over the disk of the star. This will significantly speed up both the research and analytical work – some of the extrasolar planets located at a great distance from us, committing only one turnover in a few years.
Scientists say that such worlds are unlikely to contain life, but explain that their study will help us to more thoroughly understand what distinguishes the Earth from other planets, and find out what are the conditions necessary for the emergence and maintenance of life. All this will ultimately speed the search for twins of the Earth with new telescopes, including, for example, be the same TESS.