Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
The European Space Agency has just approved a space mission to search for habitable planets. It plans on launching a new space telescope called Cheops (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite). It will build up a list of exoplanets for astronomers to further analyze.
(Cheops (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite))
To do this it will target nearby stars that ground-based telescopes have already shown to boast planets in orbit around them. From its vantage point in space, Cheops will be free of the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere. Not only will it be able to analyse those worlds more precisely than is yet possible, it will also look for smaller planets around those stars that are impossible to see from the ground.
...to make progress, we need a mission capable of pivoting from star to star, to draw up a target list closer to home. Cheops is that mission.
It will look for the dip in light as a planet moves across the face of its parent star. It will detect planets down to the mass of the Earth and will have the sensitivity to show which planets have dense atmospheres. These will be the natural targets for the giant ground-based telescopes, and the next generation of space telescopes, that will analyse those atmospheres for signs of life.
The mission was officially approved last Friday, 19 October 2012, and is scheduled for launch in 2017. It will cost ESA no more than 50 million Euros, although additional funds can be used from elsewhere.
Fans of the Golden Age of science fiction may recall that Edmond Hamilton wrote about this idea in his thrilling 1936 short story Cosmic Quest:
I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.
These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected. With super-telescopic eyes each one scanned a part of the star field before them. And each mechanical eye, when it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope which recorded on permanent film the size, mean temperature and atmospheric conditions of these worlds.
(Read more about Hamilton's search for habitable planets)
(The telespectroscope recorded the conditions of these other worlds)
Via The Guardian.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/25/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS
'Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
SpaceX Dragon To Land On Any Planet
A space craft should be able to 'land on its fins' and take off again, don't you think?
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'
Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'
ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?
Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'
Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'
Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'
FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'
The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'
GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.
Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'
Autonomous Car Outperforms Professional Race Driver
Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories