The European Space Agency (ESA) is ready to launch a giant novel telescope, which will thoroughly examine hundreds of recognized planets orbiting around their respective stars. This mission is arriving as an extension of the already accomplished exoplanet discovery missions. So far, around 4,000 exoplanets have been recognized and astronomers are now planning to study some of those planets in-depth via ESA’s novel telescope.
ESA would launch the telescope outfitted to the 300-kilogram spacecraft, named as Characterising Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS), worth $55 Million. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Guiana Space Centre on a Soyuz rocket. After approaching 700 Kilometers above Earth, the spacecraft will be deployed in such a way that its observation side always remains toward the night side of our planet.
The single-camera equipped on CHEOPS will constantly peer at stars around which the recognized exoplanets are orbiting. Through the deployed spacecraft, scientists will particularly study the sizes and atmospheres of the foreign worlds. This exoplanet study mission will begin from April of next year and continue till 2023.
Alongside ESA, NASA is also planning to study the atmosphere of far-orbiting exoplanets through its upcoming very powerful James Webb Space Telescope. NASA’s mission is scheduled to begin in the 2020s.
On a related note, the world’s largest telescope, assembled in Chinese province Guizhou, FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) has been in the testing phase from over the past three years. Soon, the giant telescope would be used in conducting commercial space missions. Throughout the commission phase, astronomers identified 99 pulsars (swiftly rotating neutron stars) using FAST, of which around 30 were spinning at extreme speeds. The key purpose behind constructing this telescope was to discover extraterrestrial life.
Recently, the FAST team organized a session, in which over 100 researchers had to share their experiences on working over the telescope during the testing phase.