The Newest Exoplanet Hunter – PLATO

The European Space Agency is planning a mission called Planetary Transits And Oscillations of Stars, or PLATO, to look for “extrasolar planets.” These are planets around stars other than our own Sun. PLATO will gather three years’ worth of observational data using an array of 34 separate 12-centimeter telescopes and cameras to investigate a million stars spread out over half the sky. This configuration makes PLATO a completely new type of space telescope and will allow it to discover planets smaller than Earth and also planets at distances from their host stars similar to the Earth-Sun distance. One scientist involved with the mission said, “Plato will begin a completely new chapter in the exploration of extrasolar planets…We will find planets that orbit their star in life-sustaining ‘habitable’ zones: planets where liquid water is expected, and where life as we know it can be maintained.”

[ Read the Article: ESA Selects PLATO Mission To Join The Hunt For Extrasolar Planets ]