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28 August 2014 Preparing EChO space mission: laboratory simulation of planetary atmospheres
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Abstract
Space missions, as EChO, or ground based experiments, as SPHERE, have been proposed to measure the atmospheric transmission, reflection and emission spectra. In particular, EChO is foreseen to probe exoplanetary atmospheres over a wavelength range from 0.4 to 16 micron by measuring the combined spectra of the star, its transmission through the planet atmosphere and the emission of the planet. The planet atmosphere characteristics and possible biosignatures will be inferred by studying such composite spectrum in order to identify the emission/absorption lines/bands from atmospheric molecules such as water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3) etc. The interpretation of the future EChO observations depends upon the understanding of how the planet atmosphere affects the stellar spectrum and how this last affects the planet emission/absorption. In particular, it is important to know in detail the optical characteristics of gases in the typical physical conditions of the planetary atmospheres and how those characteristics could be affected by radiation induced phenomena such as photochemical and biological one. Insights in this direction can be achieved from laboratory studies of simulated planetary atmosphere of different pressure and temperature conditions under the effects of radiation sources, used as proxies of different bands of the stellar emission.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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