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The contribution of the ARIEL space mission to the study of planetary formation


Turrini, D; Miguel, Y; Zingales, T; Piccialli, A; Helled, R; Vazan, A; Oliva, F; Sindoni, G; Panić, O; Leconte, J; Min, M; Pirani, S; Selsis, F; Coudé du Foresto, V; Mura, A; Wolkenberg, P (2018). The contribution of the ARIEL space mission to the study of planetary formation. Experimental Astronomy, 46(1):45-65.

Abstract

The study of extrasolar planets and of the Solar System provides complementary pieces of the mosaic represented by the process of planetary formation. Exoplanets are essential to fully grasp the huge diversity of outcomes that planetary formation and the subsequent evolution of the planetary systems can produce. The orbital and basic physical data we currently possess for the bulk of the exoplanetary population, however, do not provide enough information to break the intrinsic degeneracy of their histories, as different evolutionary tracks can result in the same final configurations. The lessons learned from the Solar System indicate us that the solution to this problem lies in the information contained in the composition of planets. The goal of the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL), one of the three candidates as ESA M4 space mission, is to observe a large and diversified population of transiting planets around a range of host star types to collect information on their atmospheric composition. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres, which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials and thus reveal their bulk composition across all main cosmochemical elements. In this work we will review the most outstanding open questions concerning the way planets form and the mechanisms that contribute to create habitable environments that the compositional information gathered by ARIEL will allow to tackle.

Abstract

The study of extrasolar planets and of the Solar System provides complementary pieces of the mosaic represented by the process of planetary formation. Exoplanets are essential to fully grasp the huge diversity of outcomes that planetary formation and the subsequent evolution of the planetary systems can produce. The orbital and basic physical data we currently possess for the bulk of the exoplanetary population, however, do not provide enough information to break the intrinsic degeneracy of their histories, as different evolutionary tracks can result in the same final configurations. The lessons learned from the Solar System indicate us that the solution to this problem lies in the information contained in the composition of planets. The goal of the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL), one of the three candidates as ESA M4 space mission, is to observe a large and diversified population of transiting planets around a range of host star types to collect information on their atmospheric composition. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres, which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials and thus reveal their bulk composition across all main cosmochemical elements. In this work we will review the most outstanding open questions concerning the way planets form and the mechanisms that contribute to create habitable environments that the compositional information gathered by ARIEL will allow to tackle.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:29 January 2018
Deposited On:06 Mar 2019 14:22
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:39
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0922-6435
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10686-017-9570-1

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