Space scientists from across the world are taking giant steps in the search for new planets, building their own satellite dedicated to investigating alien atmospheres.
UniSQ’s Centre for Astrophysics was the first Australian organisation announced as a founding partner in the UK-based Twinkle Space Mission – a 0.45m space telescope planned for launch in 2024 for optical to infrared (0.5 to 4.5 micron) spectroscopy of planetary systems.
The multi-year survey will provide a large dataset on exoplanets and Solar system asteroids, comets and moons for collaborative research.
Twinkle’s infrared spectroscopy, unaffected by Earth’s atmosphere, will be important in observing the molecules present in exoplanet atmospheres.
The mission is managed by Blue Skies Space Ltd (a University College London, UCL, spin-off) and is supported by the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, Innovate UK, UCL and the European Research Council.
UniSQ will provide complementary ground-based observations from Mount Kent Observatory. EduTwinkle is a student research experience initiative.