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Journal Article

The phase a study of the ESA M4 mission candidate ARIEL


Hartogh,  Paul
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Puig, L., Pilbratt, G., Heske, A., Escudero, I., Crouzet, P.-E., de Vogeleer, B., et al. (2018). The phase a study of the ESA M4 mission candidate ARIEL. Experimental Astronomy, 46(1), 211-239. doi:10.1007/s10686-018-9604-3.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-4432-9
ARIEL, the Atmospheric Remote sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large survey, is one of the three M-class mission candidates competing for the M4 launch slot within the Cosmic Vision science programme of the European Space Agency (ESA). As such, ARIEL has been the subject of a Phase A study that involved European industry, research institutes and universities from ESA member states. This study is now completed and the M4 down-selection is expected to be concluded in November 2017. ARIEL is a concept for a dedicated mission to measure the chemical composition and structure of hundreds of exoplanet atmospheres using the technique of transit spectroscopy. ARIEL targets extend from gas giants (Jupiter or Neptune-like) to super-Earths in the very hot to warm zones of F to M-type host stars, opening up the way to large-scale, comparative planetology that would place our own Solar System in the context of other planetary systems in the Milky Way. A technical and programmatic review of the ARIEL mission was performed between February and May 2017, with the objective of assessing the readiness of the mission to progress to the Phase B1 study. No critical issues were identified and the mission was deemed technically feasible within the M4 programmatic boundary conditions. In this paper we give an overview of the final mission concept for ARIEL as of the end of the Phase A study, from scientific, technical and operational perspectives.