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New planet hunting spacecraft planned

Posted on Sunday, 23 February, 2014 | Comment icon 9 comments

PLATO will be seeking out distant worlds. Image Credit: NASA

The recently selected PLATO mission will focus on identifying Earth-like worlds orbiting distant stars.

In a similar way to NASA's Kepler telescope, PLATO ( Planetary Transits and Oscillations ) will focus its efforts on looking out for stars with an observable, periodic drip in their brightness - a prime indicator of an orbiting planet.

The spacecraft will be situated at a stable Lagrange point approximately 930,000 miles from the Earth while facing away from the sun. The mission is likely to last up to six years and will investigate as many as one million stars for signs of Earth-like worlds.

"The mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with an emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths in the habitable zone of their parent star the distance from the star where liquid surface water could exist," ESA wrote in a statement.

PLATO is set to launch in 2024 and is expected to cost over 600 million Euros.

Source: Universe Today | Comments (9)

Tags: PLATO, Earth, Extrasolar Planet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Konga on 23 February, 2014, 19:30
Thank you! What a swell way to go. This will be usefull in our way to seek for other planets like ours, I believe
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rolci on 24 February, 2014, 1:02
2024? I thought we would be travelling to them by then...
Comment icon #3 Posted by dazdillinjah on 24 February, 2014, 10:29
This is 'completely ridiculous' my God yes its time for a killer Solar Flare (because there is no other [better] way to wipe out 'ridiculous' than to start over)
Comment icon #4 Posted by Lilly on 24 February, 2014, 12:22
Why is it "ridiculous" to send out a probe to look for planets? Why do you advocate a "killer Solar Flare" ?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 24 February, 2014, 13:44
Why does a ESA sattelite programme makes you want to have people killed ? If you are from Auckland you dont even have to pay for the sattelite, because ESA is a European agency.
Comment icon #6 Posted by maximusnow on 24 February, 2014, 15:05
My Selfish post: I do see this as a waste or foreplay. I have, maybe 30 years left on this planet (maybe?) I would love to see the world pull together and build something unbelievable! Our bodies are fragile, but our sight can time travel as fast and distant, as we are willing to look. Build a Telescope of titanic size and power. We are going to see a 30M / 100ft diameter telescope very soon, but why stop there? Why not a 300m / 1000ft or larger, that would zoom in on the grains of sands, on those planets? This would change everything; imagine we see them, whatever they are? What cures wou... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 February, 2014, 16:12
The problem is that "something unbelievable" is such a subjective comment as to render your argument totally meaningless. What you personally find "unbelievable" may seem totally mundane to others and vice versa. To me, the fact that we can now detect planets orbiting other stars is an almost "unbelievable" feat of science. It is something we couldn't achieve until 1995, we now have over 1,000 confirmed and over 3,800 candidates. This is a truly remarkable achievement. The search for exoplanets is not just an achievement of science, it has massive philoso... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Calibeliever on 24 February, 2014, 17:17
If anything is living on them they should be very thankful we haven't developed interstellar capabilities yet.
Comment icon #9 Posted by maximusnow on 24 February, 2014, 17:36

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