The European Space Agency (ESA) is an organization that completely looks forward to exploring the space. It has now put forth its next mission i.e. mission Plato to explore exoplanets outside the solar system. The space agency has completed the first step towards this mission by designing the blueprint. Now the second stage would be to convert this blueprint into the actual construction.
The main goal of Plato mission to launch such a massive spacecraft is to discover new exoplanets similar to Earth in terms of size, atmosphere, and habitat. The study is led by astrophysicists from the University of Warnick in the UK. Plato mission will pave a pathway to new discoveries and sightings in the next few decades and solve the mysterious related to humans or alien life. ESA has decided to launch around 34 telescopes till 2026 where the number will touch its peak point.
Plato spacecraft will have a camera at the top that will make use of transit photometry. Transit photometry is an advanced and effective method to detect the exoplanets using the light obtained from stars. If the starlight cascades over a specific period of time, then just assume that this happens all because of a planet crossing the particular star and blocking a part of its light. This might give us an idea to determine the size and radius of the planet.
The mission is on the stage of building the components of the telescope along with its software requirements. Calculating the size and radius of the planet is not enough. Astronomers usually think out of the world. Along with size, the mission also concentrates on estimating other factors such as mass. Again, the question arises how to calculate the mass of the exoplanet. Well, this also has a solution. It can be estimated using various instruments like the Doppler spectroscopy or the radial velocity method.
NASA’s previous telescope Kepler was launched for achieving the similar mission. This mission explored around 219 exoplanets out of which 10 are of Earth-size having the same atmosphere like Earth.