Ariel Space Mission

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 9:35

Observing the atmosphere of planets outside the Solar System and the orbit of stars other than the sun is a faraway dream for every astronomer. However, the European Space Agency is planning and continuously working on the remarkable Ariel Space Mission to realise this dream.

Ariel Space Mission - Meaning

The Ariel Space Mission is one of the most-awaited and phenomenal space missions and will take a decade to launch. It aims to investigate countless exoplanets to know the evolution and formation of the Solar System.

Ariel is the abbreviated form of Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, which will most likely be launched in 2029 by the European Space Agency's programme Cosmic Vision.

Ariel Space Mission - Overview

Exploring exoplanets directly by telescopes is challenging as they are much less bright than the star they orbit. The Ariel Space Mission is a space observatory. The fourth medium-class Mission is aimed to investigate the atmosphere of more than 1000 planets outside the solar system and other planets orbiting around other stars than the sun.

This explorer mission allows studying the formation, nature, and evolution of exoplanets or extrasolar planets (planets that orbits far-off stars). The Ariel Space Mission will examine the characteristics of extrasolar planets with the help of a transit method. The spectrometer of this spacecraft spreads the light into a spectrum and ascertains the chemical identification of gasses in the atmosphere of those planets.

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Who is Developing the Ariel Space Mission?

The Ariel Space Mission is being built by consortia of several space agencies, with international contributors from four countries and 11 member states of the ESA (European Space Agency). This exceptional Mission and spacecraft operation will be managed cooperatively by ESA and a group of other space institutions through the systematised IOSDC (Instrument Operations and Science Data Centre).

The principal investigator Giovanna Tinetti of the University College London will administer the Ariel Space Mission project. However, the Mission Operation Centre, responsible for spacecraft, will be set up at the ESOC (European Space Operations Centre) in Darmstadt, Germany. The Science Operation Centre, responsible for the scientific and Mission data downlinked from the spacecraft, will be set up at the ESAC (European Space Astronomy Centre) in Madrid, Spain.

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Ariel Space Mission - Ariel Spacecraft

The constriction of the Ariel spacecraft has hereditament from the ESA's Planck Mission's thermal design and depends on the studies for the EChO Mission (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory).

The two thermally isolated modules, the Service Module and Payload Module are present in the design of this spacecraft. Furthermore, the assembly of telescopes in the Airel spacecraft is an off-centre Cassegrain telescope. The image quality by the telescope is finite by diffraction for wavelength, and it will get the images in the viewable and near-infrared spectrum.

The extraordinary Mission, the Ariel Space Mission, has a planned time duration of 4 years and is more likely to be launched in 2029. However, the ESA already announced on 7th December 2021 that the cost of the mission contract is €200 million. This incredible Mission is a gateway for studying the chemical composition and thermal structure of thousands of extrasolar planets that enable cosmic science beyond solar systems' limits.

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FAQs on Ariel Space Mission

Q.1) What is the Ariel Space Mission?

The Ariel Space Mission is one of the most-awaited and phenomenal space missions, which will take a decade to launch and that aims to investigate countless exoplanets to know the evolution and formation of the Solar System.

Q.2) What is the full form of ARIEL in the ARIEL Space Mission?

ARIEL is the abbreviated form of Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, which will most likely be launched in 2029 by the European Space Agency's programme Cosmic Vision. The program is referred to as the ARIEL space mission.

Q.3) Is the Ariel Space Mission a space observatory?

Yes, the Ariel Space Mission is a space observatory.

Q.4) What is the primary objective of the Ariel Space Mission?

The Ariel space mission is an Explorer mission that allows studying the formation, nature, and evolution of exoplanets or extrasolar planets (planets that orbits far-off stars).

Q.5) Who is building the Ariel Space Mission?

The Ariel Space Mission is being built by consortia of several space agencies, with international contributors from four countries and 11 member states of the ESA (European Space Agency).