UCL-led Twinkle exoplanet mission completes design milestone
16 June 2016
Twinkle, a mission led by UCL scientists that will unravel the story of planets in our galaxy, has completed a key design milestone. The results of the “payload study” demonstrate that Twinkle’s instruments will be able to achieve the mission’s science objectives.
Twinkle’s will analyse light transmitted through, and emitted or reflected by, the atmospheres of exoplanets in order to give radical insights into worlds orbiting distant stars.
“This is a big step for Twinkle,” said Dr Giorgio Savini (UCL Physics and Astronomy), and Twinkle’s Payload Lead, who is responsible for the study. “We can now demonstrate that Twinkle will have the agility, stability and sensitivity required to pick out this light, analyse the spectra and allow us to extract information on the gases present.”
The Twinkle spacecraft will be constructed by the world-leading small satellite company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and will carry a payload weighing less than 100kg that includes the scientific instrumentation, electronics, a cooling system and a fine guidance system.
The whole payload package is about the size of a water boiler and will be built by a consortium of UK companies and institutions. The UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is responsible for the overall mechanical design.