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Super Earth Hunter
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Super Earth Hunter

October 23, 2012
Cheops (CHaracterizing ExOPlanets Satellite), will focus on nearby, bright stars that are already known to have planets in their orbit.

The mission, expected to launch in 2017, will search for the telltale signs of transits as planets pass across the face of their host stars. To do this, Cheops will employ high-precision monitoring techniques to measure star brightness. This should allow for an accurate measurement of the radius of the planet. And for planets with a known mass, the density will be revealed, providing an indication of internal structure. These key parameters will help scientists to understand the formation of planets–those that are a few times the mass of the Earth (super-Earths) and larger. Cheops will also identify planets with significant atmospheres and constrain the migration of planets during the formation and evolution of their parent systems.

Artist impression of Cheops Credit University of Bern

Read more about Cheops here