NASA’s “Latif” satellite examines the atmosphere of exoplanets

The satellite, dubbed “Quote”, is supposed to start on Monday. The Graz Space Research Institute is a partner in the mission.

with a small satelliteAttractiveHe wants the US space agency Nasa Study of the upper atmosphere of a particular type of exoplanet. The “cute” shoebox-sized probe is expected to be launched Monday from Vandenberg Space Force base in California. Graz Institute for Space Research (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), which claims to be the most important non-American partner in the expedition.

“Attractive” (Colorado UV Transit Experience) target the atmosphere of a number of exoplanets known as “hot Jupiter”. It remains in Earth orbit.

Hot Jupiters are gaseous planets that reach temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. “Thanks to the results, we will better understand how these planets and many others evolve, and even shrink, over billions of years,” said Luca Fossati, director of the International Monetary Fund, explaining the purpose of the mission. He is a member of the “Mignon” scientific team.

The satellite weighs only 10 kilograms

subordinate 30 x 20 x 10 cm large satellite 10 kilograms He will explore the upper atmosphere of the planets using ultraviolet spectroscopy and observe the target objects during the so-called planetary transits: “When the planet passes in front of the star seen from Earth, part of the star’s light passes. to penetrating the planetary atmosphere and the characteristic signature leaves the spectrum of the stars, ”he explains. Fosati. This data is used to closely monitor the atmosphere to better understand the mass loss of the planet.

An example is a planet that is about 670 light years away date 9b: With a mass three times that of Jupiter, the planet orbits so close to its mother star that its temperature 7800 ° C To achieve. “Because it is so close to its star, which is almost twice as hot as our sun, KELT-9b receives a huge amount of radiation,” says Fosati. As a result, the atmosphere expands and gradually escapes into space – a process Latif needs to study more closely.

CubeSAT test

According to the International Monetary Fund, “cute” is the first so-called “CubeSat-Mission“Which takes a look at distant worlds outside our solar system. This is an important test for the use of these small probes, also called “CubesatIt could be called.

Unlike larger space missions, which often cost hundreds of millions of dollars, CubeSats can be made cheaper and faster with continued scientific use. Fossati put the cost of Cube within limits 4 million euros. The IWF provided analysis of the satellite optical system and introduced the data simulator and data reduction pipeline.

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