Fox: New planet-hunting space telescope coming in 2024

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by jobberone, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    New planet-hunting space telescope coming in 2024
    By Mike Wall

    Published February 20, 2014
    • [​IMG]
      The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with an emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths. (ESA/C. CARREAU)
    Europe will launch a space observatory a decade from now to hunt for Earth-like planets circling distant stars, officials announced Wednesday.

    The European Space Agency has selected a space telescope called PLATO[​IMG] — short for Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars — as its newest medium-class science mission. The observatory, which is slated to blast off in 2024, will scan up to a million stars for signs of orbiting planets, with an emphasis on worlds that could be similar to our own.

    "PLATO will begin a completely new chapter in the exploration of extrasolar planets," mission leader Heike Rauer, of the German Aerospace Center, said in a statement. "We will find planets that orbit their star in the life-sustaining habitable zone — planets where liquid water is expected, and where life as we know it can be maintained." [The Search For Another Earth (Video)[​IMG]]

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