Esa plans an exoplanet exploration mission

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The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to explore exoplanets. Photo: Janne Kieselbach / dpa

(Photo: dpa)

The Ariel mission — a space telescope launched into space — could help tell if there is life elsewhere in the universe or an Earth-like planet, according to a statement from Paris-based ESA on Tuesday.

Starting in 2029, Ariel will make long-term observations of about 1,000 so-called exoplanets over a four-year period. ESA hopes to gain insight into the early stage of planet formation and atmospheres as well as their development. Specifically, the goal is to study the chemical composition of the passing exoplanets and their thermal structures. The focus should be on warm and hot planets in particular.

The exoplanets were first seen in 1995. Since then, more than 5,000 of them have been identified. The European Space Agency is already investigating some of them with the Khufu Esa mission. Little is known about the chemical composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets.

The European Space Agency commissioned European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to build the spacecraft for the research mission. According to the announcement, the order value is about 200 million euros.

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