|The research field of exoplanet is, within Astrophysics, the one with largest projection over the coming years. With the present proposal we aim at building and consolidating a strong collaboration that can play an important role in this highly competitive field, establishing ties within the already existing Spanish groups, channeled through the participation in several ground-based instrumentation and space missions. Currently, we are working on the exploitation of the NASAs TESS mission. It will be soon followed by the CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS), the first ESA S-type mission, with an expected launch in mid 2019. It will be the first mission dedicated to search for transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. The ARIEL mission, dedicated to the systematic characterization of exoplanet atmospheres, will be a golden opportunity to leverage on the trobe of discoveries these previous missions will provide. ARIEL will observe the atmosphere of about 1000 exoplanets orbiting nearby stars with the aim of studying their composition as well as their formation and evolution.
We will pave the road for the preparation and exploitation of ARIEL by conducting scientific research in key areas of (exo-)planetary sciences: (1) The characterization of the atmospheres of planets in our own Solar System, in particular the Earth and the earthshine; (2) understanding the Sun-Earth and star-planet connection problems; (3) participating in survey efforts to find the nearest transiting exoplanets around small or bright stars (like MuSCAT2 or the CARMENES projects); (4) conducting ground-based studies of exoplanet atmospheres in the optical and near-infrared, which will further our currently very sparse knowledge on the chemical composition and the physical processes of exo-atmospheres; (5) continuing our technical contributions and science exploitation planning for the TESS, CHEOPS, PLATO and ARIEL space projects.
The search for life in the universe has been driven by recent discoveries of planets around other stars (known as exoplanets), becoming one of the most active fields in modern astrophysics. The growing number of new exoplanets discovered in recent years and the recent advance on the study of their atmospheres are not only providing new valuable