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Egypt News | Science and Technology / Report: The CHEOPS mission extends the search for exoplanets in Europa until 2026

announced European Space Agency (ESA) that CHEOPS It will continue its mission to study exoplanets — which includes selecting “golden target” worlds for deeper investigation with the James Webb Space Telescope. (JWST) – For at least another three years, with the possibility of extending this further until 2029.

was launched CHEOPS in December 2019 from a European Space Agency spaceport in French Guiana, which is designed to study planets with sizes between Earth and Neptune as they cross or transit the face of bright stars. But it has had great results with things outside this size range, according to a report theverge

The mission has moved exoplanet science beyond simple detection, to a deeper investigation of these worlds’ atmospheres as well as accurately measuring their size and shape. Exoplanets with interesting atmospheric compositions can then be passed on to more powerful telescopes such as JWST which means that CHEOPS It plays a major role in the search for planets that could support life.

Willy Benz, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Bern, Switzerland, said in a statement: “In this regard, the mission was very successful. CHEOPS All predictions have allowed us to characterize many of the most interesting exoplanets.”

A contribution example CHEOPS In science it is his discovery that the gas giant WASP-103b which was first spotted in 2014, has a bulging and flattened shape similar to that of a rugby ball, and the spacecraft ESA This determination was made in 2021 by examining the decrease in brightness caused by the planet as it crosses the face of its star.

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It is believed that the compressed form of WASP-103b It is the result of tidal interactions with its parent star, and the detection was the first time that the shape of a planet outside the solar system was well defined.

And it was for CHEOPS Effect Closer to Home Just this year, observations from the spacecraft were used to discover that Quaoarwhich is a dwarf planet in our solar system, surrounded by a ring of dust, and the ring is considered exceptional because it is farther from its parent body than any previously discovered ring, which challenges theories about how these structures were formed.

It was tentatively planned that the primary science mission of CHEOPS For three and a half years, until September 2023, but the European Space Agency said the spacecraft is in excellent health after more than three years in Earth orbit..

During this time, I coped CHEOPS admirably with the rigors of space, such as bombardment of cosmic rays and high-energy radiation, while the operating team on Earth worked to keep the spacecraft operational during a global pandemic..

And there are many exciting observation opportunities left for CHEOPS. For example, the mission team hopes to use the spacecraft to discover the first exomoon — a moon orbiting a planet outside the solar system.

Exomoons are difficult to detect due to their relatively small size and thus the faint signature they cause as they pass in front of a star. CHEOPS He believes the spacecraft is sensitive enough to make such a detection.

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Benz said: “We’ve only scratched the surface of capabilities CHEOPS. There is a lot of science that can be done with the satellite, and we look forward to exploring it during the extension.” “Scientists are eager to see what surprising results it will yield.” CHEOPS Then, what is certain now is that CHEOPS She will continue to make new discoveries for years to come.”

Dated: 2023-03-19