The LISA trio of satellites to detect gravitational waves from space has been selected as the third large-class mission in ESA’s Science programme, while the Plato exoplanet hunter moves into development.
Following selection, the mission design and costing can be completed. Then it will be proposed for ‘adoption’ before construction begins. Launch is expected in 2034.
In the same meeting Plato – Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars – has now been adopted in the Science Programme, following its selection in February 2014.
Following its launch in 2026, Plato will monitor thousands of bright stars over a large area of the sky, searching for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets cross in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight.