Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Europe looks forward to COROT launch

19.12.2006
ESA PR 47-2006. On 27 December, COROT is to be launched into space on a unique astronomy mission: its twin goals are to detect exoplanets orbiting around other stars and to probe the mysteries of stellar interiors as never before.
COROT is a French national space agency (CNES)-led mission to which the European Space Agency and European partners are adding a particularly strong international flavour.

While CNES is completing preparations for the launch from Baikonur/Kazakhstan, ESA and a large number of European scientists involved in the mission are eagerly awaiting this event and the first scientific results to come through.

What is COROT?

COROT stands for ‘Convection Rotation and planetary Transits’. The name describes the mission’s scientific goals. ‘Convection and rotation’ refer to the satellite’s capability to probe stellar interiors, studying the acoustic waves that ripple across the surface of stars, a technique called asteroseismology. ‘Transit’ refers to the technique whereby the presence of a planet orbiting a star can be inferred from the dimming starlight caused when the planet passes in front of it. To achieve its twin scientific objectives, COROT will monitor some 120,000 stars with its 30-centimetre telescope.

COROT will lead a bold new search for planets around other stars. In the decade since the first discovery in 1995 of an exoplanet (51 Pegasi b), more than 200 other such planets outside our solar system have been detected using ground-based observatories. The COROT space telescope promises to find many more during its two-and-a-half-year mission, expanding the frontiers of our knowledge towards ever-smaller planets.
Many of the planets COROT will detect are expected to be 'hot Jupiters', gaseous worlds. An unknown percentage of those detected are expected to be rocky planets, maybe just a few times larger than the Earth (or smaller, even). If COROT finds such planets, they will constitute a new class of planet altogether.

While it is looking at a star, COROT will also be able to detect 'starquakes', acoustic waves generated deep inside a star that send ripples across its surface, altering its brightness. The exact nature of the ripples allows astronomers to calculate the star's precise mass, age and chemical composition.

COROT’s European dimension

The COROT mission was first proposed by CNES back in 1996. A call for potential European partners was issued in 1999. CNES gave the green light to build the spacecraft in 2000 and is now leading the mission. Its international partners are ESA, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Brazil.

Artist's view of COROT satellite

CNES is responsible for the overall system and for the launch contract with Franco-Russian company Starsem, which is providing the Soyuz launch service.

The contributions of the other international partners range from the provision of hardware items to ground stations, complementary ground-based observation of targets to be studied by COROT and analysis of the scientific data to come.

ESA is playing a crucial role in the mission. It has contributed the optics for the telescope positioned at the heart of the spacecraft and has carried out payload testing. The telescope’s baffle was developed by a team at ESA’s technical centre ESTEC. ESA has also provided the onboard data processing units. And under this truly collaborative effort, a number of scientists from various European countries - Denmark, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Portugal - have been selected as Co-Investigators following open competition. As a result of ESA’s participation, scientists from its Member States will also be given access to COROT data.

For more information:

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 69 7155
Fax: +33 (0) 1 53 69 7690
Malcolm Fridlund, ESA COROT Project Scientist
Email: Malcolm.fridlund @ esa.int
Fabio Favata, ESA Coordinator for Astronomy and Fundamental Physics Missions
Email: fabio.favata @ esa.int

ESA Media Relations Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM4IKQJNVE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>