Ariel. Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office.



Principal Investigator: Giovanna Tinetti (UCL)


Portuguese Participation

Consortium Co-PI: Pedro Machado

Consortium members: Vardan Adibekyan, Diego Bossini, Tiago Campante, Elisa Delgado Mena, Andreas Neitzel, Sérgio Sousa



Ariel (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) is the M4 mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision long-term plan, being expected to launch in 2029. During its 4-year mission, Ariel will study what exoplanets are made of, how they formed, and how they evolve, by surveying a diverse sample of about 1000 extrasolar planets, simultaneously in visible and infrared wavelengths. It is the first mission dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of hundreds of transiting exoplanets, enabling planetary science far beyond the boundaries of the Solar System.

The Ariel payload consists of an off-axis Cassegrain telescope (primary mirror 1100 mm x 730 mm ellipse) and two separate instruments (FGS and AIRS) simultaneously covering the 0.5-7.8 micron spectral range. The payload is being developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 16 ESA countries, which include the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, and a contribution from NASA.

Our team has a leading role in the (stellar) characterisation of the Ariel targets, coordinating working groups responsible for both the determination of stellar atmospheric chemical abundances and their fundamental properties (age, mass, and radius).