The European Space Agency (ESA) have formally adopted Ariel, the first mission dedicated to study the nature, formation and evolution of exoplanets.
Ariel has passed major feasibility reviews and has been formally adopted into the program of future missions for implementation.
It will survey about 1000 planets outside our solar system during its lifetime.
Ariel will unveil the nature, formation and evolution of a large and assorted sample of planets around different types of stars in our galaxy.
More than 50 institutes from 17 countries have been working over the past 5 years to develop the science goals and design the instrumentation which will enable Ariel to survey a diverse sample of around 1000 planets outside our own solar system.
The mission has passed a rigorous set of reviews which it has been undergoing throughout 2020 to prove the technical feasibility and science case and has now received approval from ESA’s member states, confirming that the Ariel team can work towards a launch in 2029.
Artist’s impression of Ariel. Image Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/UK Space Agency/ ATG Medialab