The European Space Agency's programme committee has just selected the ARIEL mission as the 4th intermediate class mission (budget 450 million euros) of the "Cosmic Vision" programme. ARIEL will be launched from the Kourou base in Guyana in May 2028 and will be placed in orbit at Lagrange L2, located 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. ARIEL is a space telescope that will systematically probe the atmospheres of a thousand extrasolar planets, from gas giants to rocky planets, whether hot or temperate around stars of different types. ARIEL will measure the composition and structure of planetary atmospheres, constrain the nature of planetary cores, detect the presence of clouds and study interactions with the host star.
Yves Langevin, Research Director Emeritus of Outstanding Class, has been awarded the Runcorn-Florensky Medal from EGU (European Geosciences Union). This medal is awarded to scientists for their outstanding contribution to planetology. It has been given four times only over the past 15 years.
The enormous quantity and complexity of planetary data acquired by spacecraft during the last two decades has created a demand within the planetary community for access to the raw and high level data archives and to the tools necessary to analyze these data. The number and the size of the datasets are so large that an information system to process, manage and distribute data is critical. In this framework, the Observatories of Paris Sud (OSUPS) and Lyon (OSUL) have recently developed a portal, called PSUP (Planetary SUrface Portal), to provide users with efficient and easy access to these data products.
In situ images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko acquired by the 7 CIVA cameras on board Philae revealed a singular, unexpected, and very irregular landscape dominated by consolidated materials. Following a detailed study, this landing site provided a unique opportunity to constrain the past and present conditions prevailing at the surface of the comet.
Gullies observed on Mars would be produced by the action of dry ice in winter and spring, not by liquid water flows as thought before. Indeed, recent numerical simulations show that under dry ice heated by the Sun, intense gas motions can destabilize and fluidize the soil, until they create flows similar to those created by a liquid.