CARMENES is an instrument designed and optimised to look for planets around stars smaller than our Sun. Because of their small size and low luminosity, these stars are ideal to discover Earth-like exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zone.
CARMENES (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical E_chelle Spectrographs) is an instrument designed and optimised to look for planets around stars smaller than our Sun. Because of their small size and low luminosity, these stars are ideal to discover Earth-like exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zone.
CARMENES will be surveying a sample of 300 stars in our immediate vicinity, lying just within 50 light years from the Sun, which will produce an invaluable collection of several tens of terrestrial planets - our closest neighbours in the Universe. It is even possible that the first exoplanet found to host life is discovered by CARMENES, an instrument that will undoubtedly make history.
ICE-CSIC has a prominent role in CARMENES. We are responsible for science preparation and exploitation through the figure of the Project Scientist. In this capacity, ICE-CSIC led the selection of the stars that are being searched for planets, the collection of all necessary information to guarantee the best precision and the analysis of the data acquired to uncover habitable planets. Besides the scientific role, the Institute of Space Sciences is also responsible for key technology packages of the CARMENES spectrograph, which are the Instrument Control System (ICS) and the scheduling system. The ICS is the ¨brain¨ of CARMENES and centralises all the subsystems to control the proper working of the instrument, its performance, and environment variables. The ICS communicates and collects data from a variety of sources using the modern and versatile Internet Communications Engine architecture that ensures a robust operation. The scheduler is a complex piece of software factoring in a large number of variables (target properties, prioritisation, environment variables) to find the optimum target to observe at each point in time. Proper scheduling is essential to maximise the science output of CARMENES as it optimises its efficiency.
Senior institute members involved
Meet the senior researchers who lead our participation in the CARMENES mission.