UK Joins The Planet Hunt As Government Pledges £25 Million To Europe’s PLATO Mission
The UK is set to play a leading role in the search for habitable planets orbiting alien stars, following David Willett’s announcement today (11 March 2014) that the UK Space Agency will invest £25 million in ESA’s PLATO mission.
Planned for launch by 2024, the planet hunting mission will see strong involvement from several UK institutes, with Professor Don Pollacco from the University of Warwick providing UK scientific leadership for the European consortium.
With several UK space companies in a strong position to bid for the industrial opportunities that PLATO will produce, the UK’s investment in the mission is also set to secure excellent return, generating economic growth and creating new jobs.
PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) was selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee for implementation as part of its Cosmic Vision 2015–25 Programme.