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ESA Space Telescope To Gaze At Far Flung Planets


Video Source  >> AP NEWSROOM

SWITZERLAND SPACE TELESCOPE
SOURCE: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)
RESTRICTIONS: AP CLIENTS ONLY
LENGTH: 2:55

SHOTLIST:
COURTESY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)

1. Animation of Exoplanets ++MUTE++

COURTESY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)

Bern, Switzerland – Recent

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Willy Benz, CHEOPS Principal Investigator, European Space Agency (ESA):

“We want to know what these planets are made of, we want to know how hot they are, we want to know their atmospheric compositions, structure. We want to know the surface temperature, we want to know if there’s water there and eventually if there’s life.”

3. Various of CHEOPS space telescope in clean room at the University of Bern

COURTESY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)

4. Animation of planet transiting across star ++MUTE++

5. Animation of Exoplanets ++MUTE++

COURTESY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)

Bern, Switzerland – Recent

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrea Fortier, CHEOPS Instrument Scientist, European Space Agency (ESA):

“When you have the mass and the radius, you have two very important things about an object. Because, you can get what we call the “mean density” after that, and that can give you a lot of information about the composition of a planet. For example, it can immediately tell you whether the planet is mainly formed of gas or if it’s a rocky planet.”

7. Various of CHEOPS space telescope in clean room at the University of Bern

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Willy Benz, CHEOPS Principal Investigator, European Space Agency (ESA):

“What makes CHEOPS unique, it’s the only follow-up mission. So, we are not aiming at discovering new planets, we’re just aiming at going back to the ones we know, and measure their size, either for the first time because it hasn’t been measured yet or improve the measurements that have been done in the past, either from the ground or from a space telescope with less precision.”

9. Wide of scientists covering CHEOPS space telescope in clean room at the University of Bern

COURTESY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)

10. Animation of Exoplanet ++MUTE++

LEADIN:

A new space telescope, built by the European Space Agency (ESA), is set to gaze at far-flung planets to learn more about their composition.

CHEOPS – meaning ‘CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite’ – was assembled at Switzerland’s University of Bern and is set to launch this year.

STORYLINE:

Scientists are set to glimpse at hundreds of known planets outside our Solar System thanks to a new space telescope, called CHEOPS.

It was built, assembled and tested in clean rooms at the University of Bern. It’s now in Madrid for further launch preparation.

Experts say it will help answer a number of questions.

“We want to know what these planets are made of,” explains the project’s principal investigator Willy Benz.

“We want to know how hot they are, we want to know their atmospheric compositions, structure. We want to know the surface temperature, we want to know if there’s water there and eventually if there’s life.”

CHEOPS will measure the tiny dip in light from a star when a planet transits across it.

Scientists say measuring that dip will give them valuable information about the size of the planets circling other stars.

“When you have the mass and the radius, you have two very important things about an object,” explains Andrea Fortier, the project’s instrument scientist.

“Because, you can get what we call the “mean density” after that, and that can give you a lot of information about the composition of a planet.

“For example, it can immediately tell you whether the planet is mainly formed of gas or if it’s a rocky planet.”

The telescope recently arrived at an Airbus facility in Madrid where it’ll be integrated with its space platform.

This includes being combined with solar panels, thrusters and radio transmitters.

“What makes CHEOPS unique, it’s the only follow-up mission,” says Benz.

“So, we are not aiming at discovering new planets, we’re just aiming at going back to the ones we know, and measure their size, either for the first time because it hasn’t been measured yet or improve the measurements that have been done in the past, either from the ground or from a space telescope with less precision.”

ESA experts are currently selecting the best planets to study. Other scientists are also being invited to submit proposals to use the telescope.

Final checks will be conducted in October.

The telescope will then be shipped to ESA’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA hopes to launch CEOPS by the end of this year.

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