20 Mar 2018



Ariel is a major upcoming ESA mission that will study the formation and evolution of exoplanets and planetary systems.

Ariel Space Telescope with Earth, Moon and Sun.

​​​​​​​Artist's impression of Ariel on its way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2).  

Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office​

​​RAL Space Involvement 

C​onsortium project management.

Mission Objectives 

To answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. Ariel will observe around 1000 planets orbiting distant stars, ranging from Jupiter- and Neptune-size planets down to super-Earths in a wide variety of environments, and will make the first large-scale survey of the chemistry of exoplanet atmospheres. While some of the planets may be in the habitable zones of their stars, the main focus of the mission will be on warm and hot planets in orbits close to their star as they represent a natural laboratory in which to study the chemistry and formation of planets.

Launch Date 

ESA, UCL, STFC UK ATC, Cardiff University, University of Oxford and over 60 institutes from 15 ESA member state countries with an additional contribution from NASA currently under study.

Further Project Information 

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries