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  • Exoplanets illustration.
  • PLATO´s artist impression.

Looking for extrasolar planetary systems

The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) is the selected M3 mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision program, to be launched in 2026. Its objective is to find and study a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars. PLATO has also been designed to investigate seismic activity in stars, enabling the precise characterisation of the planet host star, including its age.

How common are worlds like ours?

The primary goal of PLATO is to open a new way in exoplanetary science, by detecting terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone of solar-type stars and characterising their bulk properties. PLATO will provide the key information needed to determine the habitability of these unexpectedly diverse new worlds. PLATO will assemble the first catalogue of confirmed and characterised planets in habitable zones with known mean densities, compositions, and evolutionary ages/stages. It is foreseen that the PLATO catalogue will consist of thousands of characterised planets of all types: 85,000 stars with accurately known ages and masses, and 1,000,000 high-precision stellar light curves.
Artist´s impression of exoplanet WASP-39b and its star

ICE-CSIC's participation

ICE-CSIC is leading a workpackage that has as its main task to distribute and optimise the observations of the ground-based follow-up using the proven expertise in sophisticated scheduling algorithms. The exoplanet candidates received from the PLATO Data Center will be distributed among the different facilities according to the relevant parameters and to the availability of observing time.

We also lead the workpackage that has the responsibility of testing the accuracy and precision of stellar models and providing the grids of stellar models, from first to third generation, that will be used to determine the fundamental properties of stars, both hosting and not hosting exoplanets, observed by PLATO.


Senior institute members involved

Meet the senior researchers who participate in this research line.

  • Ignasi Ribas

  • Josep Colomé

  • Aldo Serenelli