Imprimir Republish

European Space Agency

To find other planets

Rendering of Plato observatory: in orbit in 2024

ESARendering of Plato observatory: in orbit in 2024 ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a plan to put a new observatory in orbit in 2024, for the purpose of finding planets outside our solar system — also known as exoplanets. The mission, named Plato (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars), was selected by ESA’s scientific committee as part of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The observatory will monitor brilliant stars in a search for planets of equal or larger size than Earth. Brazilian scientists from some of the country’s leading universities, including the University of São Paulo (USP), Mackenzie University, and the federal universities of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and Minas Gerais (UFMG), will participate in the project. The head of the Plato Committee in Brazil is Eduardo Janot Pacheco, a professor at USP’s Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG). Equipped with a series of 32 telescopes and 3 cameras, the Plato observatory is the most recent in a series of exoplanetary missions. Since startup in 2009, NASA’s Kepler “planet hunter” has detected more than 3,000 exoplanet candidates.