The Ariel Mission Reference Sample

Presenter: Billy EDWARDS
Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits. However, the essential nature of these exoplanets remains largely mysterious: there is no known, discernible pattern linking the presence, size, or orbital parameters of a planet to the nature of its parent star. We have little idea whether the chemistry of a planet is linked to its formation environment, or whether the type of host star drives the processes controlling the planet's birth and evolution.

Progress with these science questions demands a large, unbiased spectroscopic survey of exoplanets and Ariel has been selected as ESA's M4 mission for launch in 2028. By studying a large and diverse population of exoplanetary atmospheres, Ariel will provide insights into planetary formation and evolution within our galaxy.

I will present the latest study of potential targets for Ariel in which we assessed the suitability of currently-known exoplanets and predicted TESS yields. This list of planets has been utilised to form an example Mission Reference Sample (MRS) to demonstrate that Ariel’s mission goals could be met from this planetary population. I will also present the results from the latest studies into the expected scientific capability of Ariel.