Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EXO WORLDS
Finding new Earths: PLATO spacecraft to be built
by Staff Writers
Gottingen, Germany (SPX) Jun 22, 2017


The PLATO-team at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. Image courtesy MPS.

The planet-hunting and asteroseismology space mission PLATO has reached an important milestone: Today, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced the official adoption of the mission.

After a three year definition phase following the mission's selection in 2014, PLATO is now fit for implementation. The launch is scheduled for the end of 2026. In its at least four year lifetime, the spacecraft will search for planets around several hundred thousands of stars; the radii, masses, and ages of many thousands of planetary systems will be precisely determined. The goal is to find habitable worlds and even Earth twins.

In close collaboration with many European partners Germany will play a key role in the mission: the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin will head the overall mission; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Gottingen will lead the processing of the observations at the PLATO Data Center.

Several thousands of exoplanets orbiting distant stars are known to date, many of these discovered by the Kepler and CoRoT space missions. However, these worlds are so far away and their host stars so faint that they cannot be characterized in detail. PLATO will be the first planet-hunting spacecraft capable of discovering and characterizing Earth-like planets around nearby Sun-like stars. By surveying a large area of the sky for at least four years, PLATO will thus study the full diversity of stars and planetary systems across our galactic neighbourhood.

"Using observations of stellar vibrations, PLATO will for the first time fully characterize these stars and their planets with regard to mass, radius, and age," says Prof. Dr. Laurent Gizon, director of the MPS and head of the PLATO Data Center. "This will revolutionize the study of the evolution of exoplanets and their host stars," he adds. The ultimate goal of the mission is to find an Earth-twin.

"We are very pleased that PLATO has reached adoption and that the mission is now moving forward into its next decisive phase," says Gizon. In the past three years since the selection of the mission, scientists at ESA, DLR-Berlin, MPS, and other European partner institutions have worked on specifying the mission's technical and programmatic details necessary to achieve the scientific goals within time and budget.

With today's adoption, the implementation - the actual building and construction of the spacecraft and its instruments - can begin. In parallel, the design of the software to analyse the observations will be developed at the PLATO Data Center.

PLATO's instrumentation chiefly consists of 26 telescopes mounted on one satellite platform making it possible to gaze at very large area of sky at once. PLATO observes the dimming of a star's light when a planet passes in front of it.

The spacecraft will stare at patches of sky for up to two years, in order to capture two transits of an Earth twin. It will change its field of view several times during the mission to find exoplanets across the sky.

"With this concept and the high precision of the instrument we will find rocky planets orbiting Sun-like stars and will be able to characterise them accurately," says Prof. Dr. Heike Rauer from DLR-Berlin, who is the Principal Investigator of the mission.

The observations from the mission will be processed by the PLATO Data Center, which consists of several data processing units across Europe and a central database located at the MPS in Gottingen (Germany).

The scientists expect to be handling several petabytes of scientific data by the end of the mission. With support from the German Space Agency (DLR Raumfahrt-Agentur in Bonn) the PLATO Data Center will now start developing the computer software for the processing of the scientific data to ensure smooth operations when the first data arrives.

EXO WORLDS
New branch in family tree of exoplanets discovered
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jun 21, 2017
Since the mid-1990s, when the first planet around another sun-like star was discovered, astronomers have been amassing what is now a large collection of exoplanets - nearly 3,500 have been confirmed so far. In a new Caltech-led study, researchers have classified these planets in much the same way that biologists identify new animal species and have learned that the majority of exoplanets f ... read more

Related Links
Max Planck Institute For Solar System Research
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

EXO WORLDS
Plants to feed Earth and beyond

NASA Selects Army Surgeon for Astronaut Training

Orion Kicks Off Summer with Series of Safety Tests

Teachers doubt most students interested in subjects that promote space careers

EXO WORLDS
Launch Vehicle Rocket Engines

Kazakh man dies in fire after Russian rocket launch

NASA and Industry Team Successfully Test Orion Launch Abort Motor

India's Kerosene-Based Semi-Cryogenic Engine to Be Flight Test Ready by 2021

EXO WORLDS
NASA, French Space Agency Express Commitment to Joint Exploration

Martian Crater Provides Reminder of Apollo Moonwalk

MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars

Opportunity collecting panoramas of high-value targets at Endeavour Crater

EXO WORLDS
China's cargo spacecraft completes second docking with space lab

China to launch four more probes before 2021

New broadcasting satellite fails to enter preset orbit

China launches remote-sensing micro-nano satellites

EXO WORLDS
Trudeau under pressure to reject China bid for satellite firm

Jumpstart goes into alliance with major aerospace and defence group ADS

Thomas Pesquet returns to Earth

Propose a course idea for the CU space minor

EXO WORLDS
Magnetic space tug could target dead satellites

Northrop Grumman tests flat-panel radar

Thales introduces ground variant of Sea Fire radar

From luxury hotels to slums, Haiti puts used soap to good use

EXO WORLDS
New Hunt for Earth-like Planets

NASA releases Kepler Survey Catalog with 100s of new exoplanet candidates

New branch in family tree of exoplanets discovered

Astronomers Explain Formation of Seven Exoplanets Around TRAPPIST-1

EXO WORLDS
King of the Gods: Jupiter Dated to Be Oldest Planet in the Solar System

New Horizons Team Digs into New Data on Next Flyby Target

A whole new Jupiter with first science results from Juno

First results from Juno show cyclones and massive magnetism




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement