Key science questions
Here are the key science questions that have been identified in relation to the Planetary Atmospheres and Surfaces theme:
- What are the physical characteristics of the atmospheres (T, P, haze, clouds, winds) ? Spectra, polarization, spectral models
- What is the nature and composition of the surface: rocky, liquid, icy ? Spectra, polarization, spectral models
- What is the time (and seasonal) variability of those features ? Spectra, polarization, spectral models
- What is the internal structure of those planets? Magnetosphere, planetary models
- What are the signatures for life ? Input from the biology community
The following is the information needed to address those questions:
- Bulk planetary composition, internal structure:
- Radius + mass -> density
- Atmospheric composition -> (distinguish Neptune-like planet from terrestrial one, any trace of volcanic gases? Etc.)
- Molecular composition of the atmosphere:
- Most abundant/with strongest signature molecules could be found at low/medium spectral resolution, both VIS and IR.
- Less abundant/weaker signature/chemical gradients/temporal variations NEED higher spectral resolution (> 100), very good S/N, short integration time (few hours/days).
- Vertical Thermal structure:
- IR, NEED higher spectral resolution (> 100), very good S/N, short integration time (few hours).
- IR, NEED Very short integration times + repeated observations to detect temporal variability.
- All wavelengths
- Easier to identify in VIS with the contribution of polarization
- Very short integration times + repeated observations to detect temporal variability
- Polarization can make a crucial contribution
- Magnetic field, upper atmosphere
- UV, ionized species, very high Res.
- R, H3+ very high Res.
- As 2b, need to detect chemical gradients, temporal variations.
Wednesday 21 May 2008 by Vincent Coudé du Foresto