In the search for life beyond our planet, the European Space Agency has announced plans to launch a new telescope 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometres) beyond Earth.
The secondary mission will continue looking at more than 100,000 stars throughout the Milky Way galaxy until the telescope's fuel runs out in about a year and a half, Beichman told KPCC. If the brightness falls periodically, there's a good chance that it's caused by a planet crossing the star and partially blocking its light. The ultimate goal of the mission is to find an Earth-twin. Among those there will be Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars with the potential to host life. More than 30 of the 50 have been verified, said the space agency. This is done to hopefully detect the transiting (twice) of an Earth-like exoplanet. One of the potentially inhabitable planets, dubbed TRAPPIST-1E, is very similar in size to Earth and likely has very similar temperatures.
And the main ingredient which is key to the existence of life and without which the life can not exist is water and this liquid is seen on these "rocky" Earth-like planets. The dips in light likely signal a planet passing in front, a phenomenon called a transit.
Researchers hope that they will be able to identify promising habitable planets.
"Using observations of stellar vibrations, PLATO will for the first time fully characterize these stars and their planets with regard to mass, radius, and age", explained Laurent Gizon, director of the MPS and head of the PLATO Data Center, according to Phys.org. But PLATO's mission will direct its attention to stars much more near Earth, where the exoplanets can be characterized with much greater detail than those discovered further away.
Although this strong divide in the super-Earth population has not previously been observed, its location agrees with the small number of planets we have bulk density measurements for.
These gassy mini-Neptunes could have rocky cores buried "beneath the crushing weight of a thick atmosphere" or no solid core at all, said Fulton, rendering them inhospitable to life as we know it.
Are they terrestrial planets with rocky surfaces or mini gas giants with crushing atmospheric pressures?
Kepler's mission has been plagued by the failure of two of the observatory's four reaction wheels, spinning gyro-like mechanisms that kept the telescope steadily pointed at the mission's star field in the constellation Cygnus. Originally planned as a joint ESA-NASA mission, the US agency pulled out in 2011 because of budget problems.
'This will revolutionise the study of the evolution of exoplanets and their host stars'.
In 2009, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory built a space telescope with the mission to find planets outside of our own solar system. The craft is now fit for implementation, and the launch is scheduled for the end of 2026. Its advanced technology will allow the device to look at the full diversity of stars and planetary systems throughout our galactic neighborhood.