The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is one of the most prominent players in research and innovation in France. The CEA team in this proposal is part of the Astrophysics Department within the Institute of Research on the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (Irfu) of the Fundamental Research Division of CEA (DRF). DRF gathers 3500 researchers, engineers and technicians and hosts 1200 collaborators from research partner organizations, plus 870 post docs and 690 PhD students. DRF has been involved in 92 projects in the framework of the H2020 EC program, including 20 ERC Grants. The development of astrophysics at the CEA began in the early 1960s with high energy astrophysics. In the 80’s, the activity diversified towards Infrared and visible Astrophysics and nowadays the full wavelength range is covered. Currently the department gathers about 200 researchers, engineers and technicians (including 30 PhD students and 50 postdocs). It is located on the Paris-Saclay University campus in full development (https://www.universite-parissaclay.fr/en). The ExoplANETS_A proposal fits perfectly in the missions of the department which are twofold:
· first, to acquire new knowledge about the Universe and its constituents by developing research programs in Astrophysics at the best international level, as well as state of the art instruments required for this research
· second, to disseminate the new knowledge by training PhD students, lecturing, and making the results accessible to the general public. The department is active all along the chain of new knowledge acquisition (R&D, instrumentation, signal processing, observations/interpretation, modelling, especially with numerical simulations on massively parallel computers), in a coordinated way such that the various activities reinforce each other. The ExoplANETS_A project, which gathers on a specific topic (Exoplanets atmospheres) experts in instrumentation, data reduction, signal processing, modeling, high performance numerical simulations, theoretical prescriptions, shares the same strategy.
The department has a proven record in the mastering of space instrumentation and associated ground-segment and in data exploitation (COS-B, Sigma, Integral, XMM-Newton, Fermi, ISO, SOHO, Cassini, HERSCHEL). Currently the department is involved in most of the ESA Astrophysics missions under development: JWST (major participation in the hardware and participation in ground segment activities), Solar Orbiter (hardware), Euclid (leading roles in hardware and ground segment developments), Plato (ground-segment), Athena (hardware and ground-segment); it also participates in the phase A of the Ariel mission (leading role in the instrument) and in the preliminary studies for SPICA. The department is also involved in the CNES led SVOM mission (key hardware development and leading role in the ground segment). All the space projects are developed in partnership with CNES, the French Space Agency.
The department comprises four laboratories dealing with Space instrumentation and four laboratories bringing together physicist according to astrophysical themes: Cosmology and Galaxy Evolution, Star Formation and Interstellar Medium, Dynamics of Stars, Exoplanet and their Environment (LDE3 for ‘Laboratoire Dynamique des Etoiles, des Exoplanetes et de leur environment). About 300 publications in refereed journals are produced by year.
Role in ExoplANETS_A: CEA coordinates the proposal, leads WP1 (P.-O. Lagage) and WP6 (V. Minier), co-leads WP5 (co-Lead: S. Brun; participants: E. Bolmont, J. Lecomte (associated to the department), S. Mathis, A. Strugarek, P. Tremblin (associated to the department)), participates in
WP2 (G. Morello, M. Martin-Lagarde) and in WP4 (R. Garcia).
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.