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Mission Overview

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is a next-generation planet finder. With a set of 34 ultra-high precision cameras, long (up to several years), uninterrupted photometric measurements will be carried out to obtain very accurate optical light curves and centroid curves of large numbers of bright stars.
The mission addresses one of the most timely and long-standing questions in science, namely the frequency of planets around other stars. This includes terrestrial planets in a star's habitable zone, so-called Earth-analogues. In addition, PLATO will probe stellar interiors by detecting the gaseous waves rippling their surfaces. Furthermore, PLATO will contribute to "complementary science" at no additional cost (e.g., stellar variability, pulsating stars, characterization of pre-main sequence stars, stellar clusters and associations, etc.).
Our department has a strong interest in both exoplanetary science and asteroseismology, with several groups contributing to these fields at the cutting edge, and new national and international scienti fic co-operation efforts being developed. It will also exploit complementary aspects extracted from the data sets.

Contribution of our Team

We will develop the compression software (CSW) for the RDCU (Router and Data Compression Unit) module for PLATO. It will be implemented using a FPGA-based coprocessor board (CHW built by IWF), which will be included in the instrument control unit (provided by Italy). We will lead and organize an international team responsible for the development and exploitation of "complementary PLATO science" (PSPM) and participate in the exoplanetary science exploitation.

Involved Personnel

Management, Science Lead: F. Kerschbaum, M. Güdel

Development Lead: R. Ottensamer

Consortium Members: F. Kerschbaum, M. Güdel (Board Member), R. Ottensamer

WP Lead "Data Compression": R. Ottensamer, "Complementary Science": M. Güdel

Team: M. Güdel, F. Kerschbaum, D. Loidolt, A. Luntzer, R. Ottensamer, E. Pilat-Lohinger.

Important Milestones

Mission selection by ESA's Science Programme Committee (February 2014)

Adoption of PLATO as the M3 mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme (June 2017)

Launch Date: 2026


ESA prodex, ffg ASAP


Plato Mission Consortium website

Plato mission (ESA)

Mission status