COROT is a mission led by the French national space agency, CNES. ESA has joined the mission by providing the optics for the telescope and testing of the payload. Through this collaboration a number of European scientists have been selected as Co-Investigators in open competition. They come from Denmark, Switzerland, the UK and Portugal. As a result of ESA’s participation in COROT, scientists from ESA’s Member States will be given access to the satellite’s data. The baffle of the telescope has also been developed by a team at ESA’s ESTEC site.
ESA’s Research and Scientific Support department (RSSD) at ESTEC is a full partner in COROT by providing the on-board Data Processing Units (DPU’s). Other partners in COROT are Austria, Germany, Belgium and Brazil.
ESA says that the information now obtained of the exoplanet show that the systems of observation of the probe function "better than was expected" and will be capable of detect rocky planets as the Earth,with indications about her chemical composition.
It was launched by a russian rocket Soyuz in 27 of December, in the Baikonur base, in the Cazaquistão,will use its telescope to monitor closely the changes in a star’s brightness that comes from a planet crossing in front of it. While it is looking at a star, COROT will also be able to detect ‘starquakes’, acoustical waves generated deep inside a star that send ripples across a star’s surface, altering its brightness. The exact nature of the ripples allows astronomers to calculate the star's precise mass, age and chemical composition.
This technique is known as asteroseismology and ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has been taking similar observations of the Sun for years. The COROT data is therefore essential to compare the Sun with other stars.