Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research

Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research

Finding new Earths: PLATO spacecraft to be built

The planet-hunting and asteroseismology space mission PLATO has reached an important milestone: Today, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced the official adoption of the mission. After a three year definition phase following the mission’s selection in 2014, PLATO is now fit for implementation. The launch is scheduled for the end of 2026. In its at least four year lifetime, the spacecraft will search for planets around several hundred thousands of stars; the radii, masses, and ages of many thousands of planetary systems will be precisely determined. The goal is to find habitable worlds and even Earth twins. In close collaboration with many European partners Germany will play a key role in the mission: the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin will head the overall mission; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Göttingen will lead the processing of the observations at the PLATO Data Center.