ARIEL Space Mission
The Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, or ARIEL, is poised to break new ground in our understanding of the universe. As the chosen M4 space mission for the European Space Agency (ESA), its launch in 2028 will mark the beginning of a four-year exploratory expedition. The mission: to conduct a spectroscopic survey of approximately 1000 transiting planets that orbit stars beyond our own Sun.
ARIEL is set to offer the scientific community an unparalleled resource - the first spectroscopic survey of a statistically significant sample of exoplanet atmospheres. Its scope will cover a broad spectrum of electromagnetic waves, spanning from visible light to mid-infrared. This comprehensive investigation will reveal invaluable insights into the intrinsic nature of these distant celestial bodies, probing into their atmospheric and physical conditions, as well as shedding light on their formation and evolutionary narratives.
Through ARIEL, we anticipate significant advancements in our understanding of these far-off worlds, answering pressing questions and undoubtedly posing new ones in the ceaseless quest for knowledge.
Within ARIEL I am involved in different projects:
I am the developer. of the Radiometric model simulator for the ARIEL space mission.
Target list optimisation
Candidate targets analysis to optimize the mission scientific output.
Simulator born from the merging of ArielRad and TauREx to produce ARIEL simulated data-set of entire planetary populations.
I am the Italian contact point for Exoplanet epoch follow up project using amateur ground based observatories.
I am the coordinator of a team of experts called to solve difficult problems.
I am the coordinator of the Simulators Software, Management and Documentation group.
I am involved in the architecture design and the code development of Ariel Data reduction pipeline.
The EXoplanet Climate Infrared TElescope (EXCITE) represents a significant advancement in the field of astronomical observation. Designed as a balloon-borne spectrograph, EXCITE is poised to overcome the constraints of current Near-Infrared (NIR) space-based observatories while simultaneously augmenting the scientific yield of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
EXCITE, equipped with a 0.5 m-class telescope, will undertake the task of measuring spectroscopic phase curves of bright, short-period extrasolar giant planets (also known as "hot Jupiters") across the 1-4 μm range. Its unique design allows for continuous observation of each target over a full orbital period.
The data harvested from these phase-resolved spectroscopy studies will enable us to map the temperature profile and chemical composition of these planets as a function of longitude. Thus, EXCITE offers an exciting leap forward, providing us with new means to examine and understand the fascinating complexities of our universe.
The last decade has witnessed an exponential growth in our exoplanet catalogue. The count, which barely reached 400 at the close of 2009, soared to over 4,000 confirmed discoveries by the end of 2019. This rapid expansion, fueled by both space and ground-based missions, continues to reshape our understanding of these distant celestial bodies.
Given the burgeoning roster of exoplanets, it becomes crucial not to view them in isolation, but to consider them collectively. In response to this imperative, I have begun crafting statistical tools designed to characterize and classify these bodies, moving beyond individual analysis towards a holistic examination of exoplanet populations. The focus of my work has therefore shifted to examine these distant worlds not just as single entities, but as interconnected constituents of the cosmic tapestry.