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Peter Diamandis

Europe's PLATO will hunt for habitable Earth-like planets

RATE THIS! +25
Posted in Science on 22nd Feb, 2014 12:59 AM by AlexMuller

Unlike Kepler, the European astronomers are looking for something very specific and more exciting: Earth-like rocky planets in their Sun-like stars’ habitable zones. In other words, they are looking for planets that are particularly suitable for sustaining life as we know it.

 
 
This ambitious project, which was recently approved by the ESA's Science Programme Committee, will be the first of its kind. PLATO will work much like Kepler did: by watching for planets transiting their stars. This means that PLATO will be watching for the dimming of stars’ light that happens when a planet moves in front of it.
 
Of the thousands of exoplanets we’ve already spotted, we still can’t tell exactly which ones are rocky and also in that sweet spot known as the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Liquid water is important, as we believe it's a necessary component for life. Unlike Kepler, PLATO will come equipped with an array of 34 telescopes with cameras that can cover a wider area for a longer time.
 
This will give PLATO the ability to not only look at millions of star systems at any given time, but its measurements will help astronomers figure out a planet's mass and size, which can determine if a planet is rocky or not. PLATO’s wider views will also help astronomers find those planets residing in their star’s habitable zones: that place within the star’s orbit that isn’t too close or too far away to allow the planet to have liquid water.

Tags: spaceplanetsESAPLATOwater

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-22
+2
Good developments! PLATO project will expand our knowledge about plants where life could exist and also point to places where humans could potentially live
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-22
+1
Yes, good developments but the cost is high! They say that "The PLATO mission will cost around $1 billion, and will launch in 2024 for an initial six-year period." Put this into perspective! Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-22
+3
This is very important question and we have learned great deal recently. It seems that Earth-sized planets can support life at least ten times farther away from stars than previously thought and that life on other planets could be far more widespread
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-22
+0
Yes, the traditional “habitable zone” or “Goldilocks zone”, the area of space around a star that can support life, has been extended by taking into consideration life living deep below the ground. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-07-29
+0
i voted for the squid lid like more than 19 times i went subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back subimt and back AND sumit and back:Osubimt and bacK:) Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-07
+0
This indceturos a pleasingly rational point of view. Reply


 

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