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Sökning: WFRF:(Cockell Charles)

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  • Malbet, Fabien, et al. (författare)
  • High precision astrometry mission for the detection and characterization of nearby habitable planetary systems with the Nearby Earth Astrometric Telescope (NEAT)
  • 2012
  • Ingår i: Experimental Astronomy. - : Springer. - 0922-6435 .- 1572-9508. ; 34:2, s. 385-413
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • A complete census of planetary systems around a volume-limited sample of solar-type stars (FGK dwarfs) in the Solar neighborhood (d a parts per thousand currency signaEuro parts per thousand 15 pc) with uniform sensitivity down to Earth-mass planets within their Habitable Zones out to several AUs would be a major milestone in extrasolar planets astrophysics. This fundamental goal can be achieved with a mission concept such as NEAT-the Nearby Earth Astrometric Telescope. NEAT is designed to carry out space-borne extremely-high-precision astrometric measurements at the 0.05 mu as (1 sigma) accuracy level, sufficient to detect dynamical effects due to orbiting planets of mass even lower than Earth's around the nearest stars. Such a survey mission would provide the actual planetary masses and the full orbital geometry for all the components of the detected planetary systems down to the Earth-mass limit. The NEAT performance limits can be achieved by carrying out differential astrometry between the targets and a set of suitable reference stars in the field. The NEAT instrument design consists of an off-axis parabola single-mirror telescope (D = 1 m), a detector with a large field of view located 40 m away from the telescope and made of 8 small movable CCDs located around a fixed central CCD, and an interferometric calibration system monitoring dynamical Young's fringes originating from metrology fibers located at the primary mirror. The mission profile is driven by the fact that the two main modules of the payload, the telescope and the focal plane, must be located 40 m away leading to the choice of a formation flying option as the reference mission, and of a deployable boom option as an alternative choice. The proposed mission architecture relies on the use of two satellites, of about 700 kg each, operating at L2 for 5 years, flying in formation and offering a capability of more than 20,000 reconfigurations. The two satellites will be launched in a stacked configuration using a Soyuz ST launch vehicle. The NEAT primary science program will encompass an astrometric survey of our 200 closest F-, G- and K-type stellar neighbors, with an average of 50 visits each distributed over the nominal mission duration. The main survey operation will use approximately 70% of the mission lifetime. The remaining 30% of NEAT observing time might be allocated, for example, to improve the characterization of the architecture of selected planetary systems around nearby targets of specific interest (low-mass stars, young stars, etc.) discovered by Gaia, ground-based high-precision radial-velocity surveys, and other programs. With its exquisite, surgical astrometric precision, NEAT holds the promise to provide the first thorough census for Earth-mass planets around stars in the immediate vicinity of our Sun.
  • Tinetti, Giovanna, et al. (författare)
  • The EChO science case
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Experimental astronomy (Print). - 0922-6435 .- 1572-9508. ; 40:2-3, s. 329-391
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The discovery of almost two thousand exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. We see gas giants in few-day orbits, whole multi-planet systems within the orbit of Mercury, and new populations of planets with masses between that of the Earth and Neptune-all unknown in the Solar System. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general population of planets in our Milky Way. The key science questions that urgently need addressing are therefore: What are exoplanets made of? Why are planets as they are? How do planetary systems work and what causes the exceptional diversity observed as compared to the Solar System? The EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory) space mission was conceived to take up the challenge to explain this diversity in terms of formation, evolution, internal structure and planet and atmospheric composition. This requires in-depth spectroscopic knowledge of the atmospheres of a large and well-defined planet sample for which precise physical, chemical and dynamical information can be obtained. In order to fulfil this ambitious scientific program, EChO was designed as a dedicated survey mission for transit and eclipse spectroscopy capable of observing a large, diverse and well-defined planet sample within its 4-year mission lifetime. The transit and eclipse spectroscopy method, whereby the signal from the star and planet are differentiated using knowledge of the planetary ephemerides, allows us to measure atmospheric signals from the planet at levels of at least 10(-4) relative to the star. This can only be achieved in conjunction with a carefully designed stable payload and satellite platform. It is also necessary to provide broad instantaneous wavelength coverage to detect as many molecular species as possible, to probe the thermal structure of the planetary atmospheres and to correct for the contaminating effects of the stellar photosphere. This requires wavelength coverage of at least 0.55 to 11 mu m with a goal of covering from 0.4 to 16 mu m. Only modest spectral resolving power is needed, with R similar to 300 for wavelengths less than 5 mu m and R similar to 30 for wavelengths greater than this. The transit spectroscopy technique means that no spatial resolution is required. A telescope collecting area of about 1 m(2) is sufficiently large to achieve the necessary spectro-photometric precision: for the Phase A study a 1.13 m(2) telescope, diffraction limited at 3 mu m has been adopted. Placing the satellite at L2 provides a cold and stable thermal environment as well as a large field of regard to allow efficient time-critical observation of targets randomly distributed over the sky. EChO has been conceived to achieve a single goal: exoplanet spectroscopy. The spectral coverage and signal-to-noise to be achieved by EChO, thanks to its high stability and dedicated design, would be a game changer by allowing atmospheric composition to be measured with unparalleled exactness: at least a factor 10 more precise and a factor 10 to 1000 more accurate than current observations. This would enable the detection of molecular abundances three orders of magnitude lower than currently possible and a fourfold increase from the handful of molecules detected to date. Combining these data with estimates of planetary bulk compositions from accurate measurements of their radii and masses would allow degeneracies associated with planetary interior modelling to be broken, giving unique insight into the interior structure and elemental abundances of these alien worlds. EChO would allow scientists to study exoplanets both as a population and as individuals. The mission can target super-Earths, Neptune-like, and Jupiter-like planets, in the very hot to temperate zones (planet temperatures of 300-3000 K) of F to M-type host stars. The EChO core science would be delivered by a three-tier survey. The EChO Chemical Census: This is a broad survey of a few-hundred exoplanets, which allows us to explore the spectroscopic and chemical diversity of the exoplanet population as a whole. The EChO Origin: This is a deep survey of a subsample of tens of exoplanets for which significantly higher signal to noise and spectral resolution spectra can be obtained to explain the origin of the exoplanet diversity (such as formation mechanisms, chemical processes, atmospheric escape). The EChO Rosetta Stones: This is an ultra-high accuracy survey targeting a subsample of select exoplanets. These will be the bright "benchmark" cases for which a large number of measurements would be taken to explore temporal variations, and to obtain two and three dimensional spatial information on the atmospheric conditions through eclipse-mapping techniques. If EChO were launched today, the exoplanets currently observed are sufficient to provide a large and diverse sample. The Chemical Census survey would consist of > 160 exoplanets with a range of planetary sizes, temperatures, orbital parameters and stellar host properties. Additionally, over the next 10 years, several new ground- and space-based transit photometric surveys and missions will come on-line (e.g. NGTS, CHEOPS, TESS, PLATO), which will specifically focus on finding bright, nearby systems. The current rapid rate of discovery would allow the target list to be further optimised in the years prior to EChO's launch and enable the atmospheric characterisation of hundreds of planets.
  • Cockell, Charles S., et al. (författare)
  • Sample Collection and Return from Mars : Optimising Sample Collection Based on the Microbial Ecology of Terrestrial Volcanic Environments
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: Space Science Reviews. - : Springer. - 0038-6308 .- 1572-9672. ; 215:7
  • Forskningsöversikt (refereegranskat)abstract
    • With no large-scale granitic continental crust, all environments on Mars are fundamentally derived from basaltic sources or, in the case of environments such as ices, evaporitic, and sedimentary deposits, influenced by the composition of the volcanic crust. Therefore, the selection of samples on Mars by robots and humans for investigating habitability or testing for the presence of life should be guided by our understanding of the microbial ecology of volcanic terrains on the Earth. In this paper, we discuss the microbial ecology of volcanic rocks and hydrothermal systems on the Earth. We draw on microbiological investigations of volcanic environments accomplished both by microbiology-focused studies and Mars analog studies such as the NASA BASALT project. A synthesis of these data emphasises a number of common patterns that include: (1) the heterogeneous distribution of biomass and diversity in all studied materials, (2) physical, chemical, and biological factors that can cause heterogeneous microbial biomass and diversity from sub-millimetre scales to kilometre scales, (3) the difficulty of a priori prediction of which organisms will colonise given materials, and (4) the potential for samples that are habitable, but contain no evidence of a biota. From these observations, we suggest an idealised strategy for sample collection. It includes: (1) collection of multiple samples in any given material type (∼9 or more samples), (2) collection of a coherent sample of sufficient size (∼10 cm3∼10 cm3) that takes into account observed heterogeneities in microbial distribution in these materials on Earth, and (3) collection of multiple sample suites in the same material across large spatial scales. We suggest that a microbial ecology-driven strategy for investigating the habitability and presence of life on Mars is likely to yield the most promising sample set of the greatest use to the largest number of astrobiologists and planetary scientists.
  • Cockell, Charles S., et al. (författare)
  • Subsurface scientific exploration of extraterrestrial environments (MINAR 5) : analogue science, technology and education in the Boulby Mine, UK
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: International Journal of Astrobiology. - : Cambridges Institutes Press. - 1473-5504 .- 1475-3006. ; 18:2, s. 157-182
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The deep subsurface of other planetary bodies is of special interest for robotic and human exploration. The subsurface provides access to planetary interior processes, thus yielding insights into planetary formation and evolution. On Mars, the subsurface might harbour the most habitable conditions. In the context of human exploration, the subsurface can provide refugia for habitation from extreme surface conditions. We describe the fifth Mine Analogue Research (MINAR 5) programme at 1 km depth in the Boulby Mine, UK in collaboration with Spaceward Bound NASA and the Kalam Centre, India, to test instruments and methods for the robotic and human exploration of deep environments on the Moon and Mars. The geological context in Permian evaporites provides an analogue to evaporitic materials on other planetary bodies such as Mars. A wide range of sample acquisition instruments (NASA drills, Small Planetary Impulse Tool (SPLIT) robotic hammer, universal sampling bags), analytical instruments (Raman spectroscopy, Close-Up Imager, Minion DNA sequencing technology, methane stable isotope analysis, biomolecule and metabolic life detection instruments) and environmental monitoring equipment (passive air particle sampler, particle detectors and environmental monitoring equipment) was deployed in an integrated campaign. Investigations included studying the geochemical signatures of chloride and sulphate evaporitic minerals, testing methods for life detection and planetary protection around human-tended operations, and investigations on the radiation environment of the deep subsurface. The MINAR analogue activity occurs in an active mine, showing how the development of space exploration technology can be used to contribute to addressing immediate Earth-based challenges. During the campaign, in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA), MINAR was used for astronaut familiarization with future exploration tools and techniques. The campaign was used to develop primary and secondary school and primary to secondary transition curriculum materials on-site during the campaign which was focused on a classroom extra vehicular activity simulation.
  • Cordoba-Jabonero, Carmen, et al. (författare)
  • Assessments for possible habitability in Martian polar environments : Fundaments based in ice screening of UV radiation
  • 2004
  • Ingår i: ESA SP. - 0379-6566 .- 1609-0438. ; 545, s. 187-188
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • We present a study of the solar UV radiation in Martian high latitude environments covered by ice, where the UV propagation through the polar cover depends on the ice radiative properties (layers of H2O or CO 2 ice). But also we will investigate the changes in the subsurface UV levels induced by the seasonal variations of solar UV flux on the surface, as well as by the seasonal freezing-thawing and related CO2 sublimation processes. The biological dose relative to DNA-damage will be also estimated for biological implication assessments. All these studies will be compared with the biological dose received in the Antarctic snow-ice covered environment which is seasonally exposed to high UV radiation levels (formation of "ozone hole"), where the environmental conditions could be similar to those present on Mars
  • Cordoba-Jabonero, Carmen, et al. (författare)
  • Radiative habitable zones in martian polar environments
  • 2005
  • Ingår i: Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962). - : Elsevier. - 0019-1035 .- 1090-2643. ; 175:2, s. 360-371
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The biologically damaging solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation (quantified by the DNA-weighted dose) reaches the martian surface in extremely high levels. Searching for potentially habitable UV-protected environments on Mars, we considered the polar ice caps that consist of a seasonally varying CO2 ice cover and a permanent H2O ice layer. It was found that, though the CO2 ice is insufficient by itself to screen the UV radiation, at ∼1 m depth within the perennial H2O ice the DNA-weighted dose is reduced to terrestrial levels. This depth depends strongly on the optical properties of the H2O ice layers (for instance snow-like layers). The Earth-like DNA-weighted dose and Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) requirements were used to define the upper and lower limits of the northern and southern polar Radiative Habitable Zone (RHZ) for which a temporal and spatial mapping was performed. Based on these studies we conclude that photosynthetic life might be possible within the ice layers of the polar regions. The thickness varies along each martian polar spring and summer between ∼1.5 and 2.4 m for H2O ice-like layers, and a few centimeters for snow-like covers. These martian Earth-like radiative habitable environments may be primary targets for future martian astrobiological missions. Special attention should be paid to planetary protection, since the polar RHZ may also be subject to terrestrial contamination by probes.
  • de Vera, Jean-Pierre, et al. (författare)
  • Limits of Life and the Habitability of Mars : The ESA Space Experiment BIOMEX on the ISS
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: Astrobiology. - : Mary Ann Liebert. - 1531-1074 .- 1557-8070. ; 19:2, s. 145-157
  • Tidskriftsartikel (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment) is an ESA/Roscosmos space exposure experiment housed within the exposure facility EXPOSE-R2 outside the Zvezda module on the International Space Station (ISS). The design of the multiuser facility supports-among others-the BIOMEX investigations into the stability and level of degradation of space-exposed biosignatures such as pigments, secondary metabolites, and cell surfaces in contact with a terrestrial and Mars analog mineral environment. In parallel, analysis on the viability of the investigated organisms has provided relevant data for evaluation of the habitability of Mars, for the limits of life, and for the likelihood of an interplanetary transfer of life (theory of lithopanspermia). In this project, lichens, archaea, bacteria, cyanobacteria, snow/permafrost algae, meristematic black fungi, and bryophytes from alpine and polar habitats were embedded, grown, and cultured on a mixture of martian and lunar regolith analogs or other terrestrial minerals. The organisms and regolith analogs and terrestrial mineral mixtures were then exposed to space and to simulated Mars-like conditions by way of the EXPOSE-R2 facility. In this special issue, we present the first set of data obtained in reference to our investigation into the habitability of Mars and limits of life. This project was initiated and implemented by the BIOMEX group, an international and interdisciplinary consortium of 30 institutes in 12 countries on 3 continents. Preflight tests for sample selection, results from ground-based simulation experiments, and the space experiments themselves are presented and include a complete overview of the scientific processes required for this space experiment and postflight analysis. The presented BIOMEX concept could be scaled up to future exposure experiments on the Moon and will serve as a pretest in low Earth orbit.
  • Martin-Torres, Javier, et al. (författare)
  • Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Nature Geoscience. - 1752-0894 .- 1752-0908. ; 8:5, s. 357-361
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Water is a requirement for life as we know it1. Indirect evidence of transient liquid water has been observed from orbiter on equatorial Mars2, in contrast with expectations from large-scale climate models. The presence of perchlorate salts, which have been detected at Gale crater on equatorial Mars by the Curiosity rover3, 4, lowers the freezing temperature of water5. Moreover, perchlorates can form stable hydrated compounds and liquid solutions by absorbing atmospheric water vapour through deliquescence6, 7. Here we analyse relative humidity, air temperature and ground temperature data from the Curiosity rover at Gale crater and find that the observations support the formation of night-time transient liquid brines in the uppermost 5 cm of the subsurface that then evaporate after sunrise. We also find that changes in the hydration state of salts within the uppermost 15 cm of the subsurface, as measured by Curiosity, are consistent with an active exchange of water at the atmosphere–soil interface. However, the water activity and temperature are probably too low to support terrestrial organisms8. Perchlorates are widespread on the surface of Mars9 and we expect that liquid brines are abundant beyond equatorial regions where atmospheric humidity is higher and temperatures are lower.
  • Mathanlal, Thasshwin, et al. (författare)
  • Subsurface robotic exploration for geomorphology, astrobiology and mining during MINAR6 campaign, Boulby Mine, UK : part I (Rover development)
  • 2020
  • Ingår i: International Journal of Astrobiology. - : Cambridge University Press. - 1473-5504 .- 1475-3006. ; 19:2, s. 110-125
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Autonomous exploration requires the use of movable platforms that carry a payload of instruments with a certain level of autonomy and communication with the operators. This is particularly challenging in subsurface environments, which may be more dangerous for human access and where communication with the surface is limited. Subsurface robotic exploration, which has been to date very limited, is interesting not only for science but also for cost-effective industrial exploitation of resources and safety assessments in mines. Furthermore, it has a direct application to exploration of extra-terrestrial subsurface environments of astrobiological and geological significance such as caves, lava tubes, impact or volcanic craters and subglacial conduits, for deriving in-situ mineralogical resources and establishing preliminary settlements. However, the technological solutions are generally tailor-made and are therefore considered as costly, fragile and environment-specific, further hindering their extensive and effective applications. To demonstrate the advantages of rover exploration for a broad-community, we have developed KORE (KOmpact Rover for Exploration); a low-cost, re-usable, rover multi-purpose platform. The rover platform has been developed as a technological demonstration for extra-terrestrial subsurface exploration and terrestrial mining operations pertaining to geomorphological mapping, environmental monitoring, gas leak detections and search and rescue operations in case of an accident. The present paper, the first part of a series of two, focuses on describing the development of a robust rover platform to perform dedicated geomorphological, astrobiological and mining tasks. KORE was further tested in the Mine Analogue Research 6 (MINAR6) campaign during September 2018 in the Boulby mine (UK), the second deepest potash mine in Europe at a subsurface depth of 1.1 km, the results of which will be presented in the second paper of this series. KORE is a large, semi-autonomous rover weighing 160 kg with L × W × H dimensions 1.2 m × 0.8 m × 1 m and a payload carrying capacity of 100 kg using 800 W traction power that can power to a maximum speed of 8.4 km h−1. The rover can be easily dismantled in three parts facilitating its transportation to any chosen site of exploration. Presently, the main scientific payloads on KORE are: (1) a three-dimensional mapping camera, (2) a methane detection system, (3) an environmental station capable of monitoring temperature, relative humidity, pressure and gases such as NO2, SO2, H2S, formaldehyde, CO, CO2, O3, O2, volatile organic compounds and particulates and (4) a robotic arm. Moreover, the design of the rover allows for integration of more sensors as per the scientific requirements in future expeditions. At the MINAR6 campaign, the technical readiness of KORE was demonstrated during 6 days of scientific research in the mine, with a total of 22 h of operation.
  • Pearce, David A., et al. (författare)
  • First evidence for a bipolar distribution of dominant freshwater lake bacterioplankton
  • 2007
  • Ingår i: Antarctic Science. - 0954-1020 .- 1365-2079. ; 19:2, s. 245-252
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • As a result of the recent application of DNA based technology to the investigation of maritime Antarctic freshwater lakes, patterns have begun to emerge in the bacterioplankton communities that dominate these systems. In this study, the bacterioplankton communities of five Antarctic and five Arctic freshwater lakes were assessed and compared with existing data in the literature, to determine whether emerging patterns in Antarctic lakes also applied to Arctic systems. Such a bipolar comparison is particularly timely, given the current interest in biogeography, the global distribution of microorganisms and the controversy over the global ubiquity hypothesis. In addition, it has recently been discovered that commonly encountered bacterial sequences, often originating from uncultivated bacteria obtained on different continents, form coherent phylogenetic freshwater clusters. In this study we encountered both identical sequences and sequences with a high degree of similarity among the bacterioplankton in lake water from both poles. In addition, Arctic freshwater lakes appeared to be dominated by some of the same groups of bacterioplankton thought to be dominant in Antarctic lakes, the vast majority of which represented uncultivated groups.
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