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ESA Science Programme’s New Small Satellite Will Study Super-Earths


Studying planets around other stars will be the focus of the new small Science Programme mission, Cheops, ESA announced today. Its launch is expected in 2017.

Cheops – for CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite – will target nearby, bright stars already known to have planets orbiting around them.

Through high-precision monitoring of the star’s brightness, scientists will search for the telltale signs of a ‘transit’ as a planet passes briefly across its face.

In turn, this will allow an accurate measurement of the radius of the planet. For those planets with a known mass, the density will be revealed, providing an indication of the internal structure.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMXFG4S18H_index_0.html

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