Exoplanet exploration mission will be launched in mid 2018

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The European Space Agency (ESA) fourth medium-class mission will be launched in mid 2028.  The Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey mission (ARIEL), was selected by ESA on March 20,2018 as part of its Cosmic Vision Plan.

The mission will have as a subject: What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life?

A great amount of exoplanets have been found that have a huge range of masses, orbits and sizes but no pattern has been observed that links the characteristics to the nature of the parent star. Specifically there is little knowledge of how the planet’s chemistry is linked to the environment where it formed, or whether the type of host star guides the physics and chemistry of the planet’s evolutionary path.

To this end ARIEL will play an important role and try to answer these fundamental questions of how and of what are exoplanets formed, how planetary systems form and evolve by investigating the atmospheres of hundreds of planets that orbit different stars in order for diversity to exist in the data.

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