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NASA's "Latif" satellite examines the atmosphere of exoplanets

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

© University of Colorado

with a small satelliteAttractiveHe wants the US space agency NASA Study of the upper atmosphere of a special type of exoplanet. The “cute” shoebox-sized probe is scheduled to launch 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-US partner for the expedition.

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

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

The mission’s official logo was designed by a student at the University of Colorado

The satellite weighs only 10 kilograms

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

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

Rick Konert, Latif Systems Engineer, and Erika Egan, a student involved in the project, pose with the satellite

CubeSATs test run

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 such small probes, also called”CubesatIt might be called.

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

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