Monday, December 25, 2006
Soyuz-Fregat Readied for ESA COROT Mission December 27
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is in the final hours of the launch campaign of the COROT mission set to blastoff aboard a Soyuz-Fregat from Kazakhstan December 27. COROT scientists hope to discover the first planets elsewhere that closely resemble the Earth in size and composition. [Video report]
COROT (pronounced 'Coreau') stands for 'Convection Rotation and planetary Transits'. The name describes the scientific goals of the mission. 'Convection and rotation' refer to the capability of COROT to probe into stellar interiors studying the acoustic waves that ripple across the surface of stars (a technique called 'asteroseismology'). 'Transit' refers to the technique by which the presence of a planet orbiting a star can be inferred from the dimming starlight, caused when the planet passes in front of it. To accomplish its two scientific objectives, COROT will monitor about 120,000 stars with its 30-centimetre telescope. More from the BBC and The Times of London.