Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Investing

UK scientists are a step closer to finding planets like Earth

A UK-backed mission which will search for Earth-like planets orbiting alien stars has been given the green light to continue with its development after passing a critical milestone review.

The UK Space Agency has invested £25 million in innovative science for the European Space Agency mission, called Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO), ensuring UK scientists and engineers, led by the University of Warwick, will take part in all aspects of the mission.

Caroline Harper, Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, said:“The critical milestone review has confirmed the maturity of the design and the robustness of the build schedule for both the science instruments and the spacecraft they will fly on, so it is now full speed ahead for PLATO.

“The mission offers the exciting potential for a rocky planet with life signatures to be detected using innovative sensors and software developed in the UK, on a mission with UK science leadership.”

Planned to launch in 2026, the next-generation planet hunting mission will monitor thousands of relatively bright stars over a large area of the sky, searching for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets transit in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight. The analysis of these transits and of the variations in the starlight will allow us to characterise the properties of the exoplanets and their host stars.

Astronomers have so far found over 3,000 planets beyond our Solar System which are called exoplanets, but none, as yet, has been shown to be truly Earth-like in terms of its size and distance from a Sun similar to our own.

PLATO’s innovative design is set to change all that. Its suite of 26 small telescopes and cameras, reminiscent of the compound eye of an insect, will allow it to ‘stare’ at a large number of the nearest and brightest stars, with the aim of discovering Earth-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars in the ‘habitable zone’ – the distance from the star where liquid water could exist at the surface.

Professor Don Pollacco, from the University of Warwick, which leads the PLATO Science Management Consortium, said: “The PLATO project involves the serial production of complicated components and is challenging to both academia and industry. The Critical Milestone is a detailed examination of how these processes will work in practice.

“Any production errors will lead to greater costs and delays so passing this milestone is reaffirming confidence in the hundreds of scientists and engineers that are working on this mission. Our dream of finding lots of planets like the Earth that we can examine in detail is one step closer.”

The next major milestone for PLATO is the spacecraft critical design review in 2023, which will verify the detailed design of the complete spacecraft before proceeding with its assembly. After launch, PLATO will travel to Lagrange point 2 in space, 1.5 million km beyond Earth in the direction away from the Sun. From this point the telescope will observe more than 200 000 stars during its four-year nominal mission

Filippo Marliani, project manager of PLATO at ESA, said: “Plato continues a European tradition of excellence in all areas of space science. The mission will serve the science community to gather invaluable knowledge of planets in our galaxy, beyond our own solar system.

“The successful completion of the critical milestone and the formal start of the second phase of this extraordinary mission constitute an important boost of positive energy for the next challenges to be tackled with our industrial, institutional and academic partners.”

The government’s National Space Strategy outlines the long-term plans to grow the UK space sector and make Britain a science and technology superpower, expanding our horizons with space science and exploration missions like PLATO.

Read more:
UK scientists are a step closer to finding planets like Earth

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Economy

PHILIPPINE shares ended higher on Tuesday on data showing higher remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in March and continued bargain hunting. The benchmark...

Economy

THE PESO strengthened versus the greenback on Tuesday following strong remittance data. The local unit closed at P52.425 on Tuesday, appreciating by 6.8 centavos...

Economy

By John Victor D. Ordoñez A GROUP of taxpayers has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the proclamation of Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.,...

Economy

SYDNEY — Philippine president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. has made a low-key trip to Australia, the Age newspaper reported, bringing some protesters onto...

Economy

Philippine health authorities on Tuesday confirmed the local transmission of a more contagious Omicron subvariant that has become dominant in the US. “There’s local...

Economy

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) has dropped 29 cases from its list of extralegal killings and torture cases for lack of evidence, according to...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Economy

Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.