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COROT, due for launch in late 2006, will be the first spacecraft devoted to the search for rocky planets, similar to our own Earth. It will look for the tiny drop in light caused by a planet as it slips across the face of its parent star. COROT is a CNES mission with ESA participation. Credits: CNES/D.Ducros
Bearing a 30-centimetre (12-inch) telescope and two cameras, Corot is designed to hunt for "rocky" planets -- the first requirement, along with liquid water and a moderate temperature, for life as we know it.
Corot, pronounced "Coreau," is due to lift off on Wednesday aboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
The 170-million-euro (221-million-dollar) mission, 75-percent funded by France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), should open up a new front in the search for extrasolar planets.
The present concept, estimated to cost around 800 million euro, features as a baseline a 42-m diameter segmented mirror telescope housed in an 80-m diameter rotating dome. It incorporates a large internal mirror able to distort its own shape a thousand times per second. This 'Adaptive Optics' system will help to provide robust telescope operation even in case of significant wind turbulence and will largely overcome the fuzziness of stellar images due to atmospheric turbulence.
NASA selected these missions from 26 proposals made in early
2001. The missions must stay within the Discovery Program's
development-cost cap of about $299 million.
The Discovery Program emphasizes lower-cost, highly focused
scientific missions. The past Discovery missions are NEAR
Shoemaker, Mars Pathfinder and Lunar Prospector, all of which
successfully completed their missions.
During the Soyuz 2-1b's flight, its re-ignitable Fregat upper stage made two burns to carry COROT to its circular polar orbit. The propulsion system's initial firing was followed by a coast phase of approximately 35 minutes. A second Fregat burn was performed, with COROT then deployed from the upper stage.
Originally posted by grapesofwrath
yup its gone
its exciting! NASA isnt gonna launch planet hunter till like 2020