|Feb 21, 2014|| PLATO selected by ESA!|
On February 19 ESA announced PLATO 2.0 (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) was selected for the M3 slot in the ESA's cosmic vision program. PLATO 2.0 launch is foreseen by 2022-2024.
The main scientific objective of the mission is the discovery and characterization of extrasolar planetary systems.
PLATO 2.0 will observe up to 1,000,000 stars and it will detect and characterize hundreds of small planets, thousands of giant planets, performing for each of them accurate measurements of radius, mass, mean density and age.
The final catalog will include Earth-like, potentially habitable planets.
The number of stars that Plato can follow is limited by telemetry bandwidth, and it is considerably smaller than the total number of stars in Plato's field of view, therefore the selection of the optimal targets (i.e. the preparation on the Plato Input Catalogue) is a fundamental task for the mission.
The Plato Input Catalogue (PIC) will be implemented and managed at the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC), one of the PLATO Data Processing Centres, in close collaboration with the Target/Field Characterization team (leader Professor G. Piotto).
For more details:
PLATO 2.0 on ESA website: http://sci.esa.int/plato/
Press release ESA: http://sci.esa.int/plato/53707-esa-selects-planet-hunting-plato-mission/
Press release ASI: http://www.asi.it/it/news/l_esa_approva_la_missione_plato/
Press release INAF: http://www.media.inaf.it/2014/02/19/e-lesa-scelse-plato/