The rumours of the last days now got out… A BBC article now states that PLATO is in the pole position for the M3 selection. It is a needed step in exoplanet science and after the odd M1/M2 selection process, it was well deserved. Of course I’m biased, but i have to say that the science case of PLATO is extremly compelling, and without PLATO the future in Exoplanet science would be much less exciting. With PLATO the search for the second habitable planet goes into the right direction.
More about PLATO can be found on my site and here and here.
Another blog entry about the recommendation can be found here.
The deadlines for the submission of all documents for the M3 selection is getting closer, and so are the according workshops. Deadlines for abstract submission and registration are coming.
PLATO, the satellite mission for the detection of transiting planets around bright stars, is now a candidate mission for the M3 selection. The selection will probably happen in early 2014. With PLATO it might be possible to detect another earth sized planet around a sun-like star in the habitable zone. That means we might be able to find a earth twin during my lifetime.
PLATO submitted last friday the documents needed for the ESA M3 selection process. Now we wait for the recommendations from ESA Advisory Structure and the Science Program Committee selection which will happen in February.
After the selection a payload definition phase will start. This definition phase will end in September 2013 and in beginning of 2014 we will know whether PLATO will be build.