The PLATO Mission

PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars mission) is the M3 mission in the ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Programme. It aims at finding and studying a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars.

PLATO final product is a catalogue including accurate determinations of the planet radii, masses (hence mean densities), stellar irradiation, architecture of planetary systems and evolutionary ages/stages.
In order to achieve its scientific objectives, the PLATO satellite will perform uninterrupted high precision photometric monitoring of large samples of stars during long periods (up to several years) to detect planetary transits. The PLATO photometric data or light curves will also contain information of the seismic activity of the stars. The analysis of the light curves will lead to the determination of planetary radii, ages and orbital inclinations of the planets. Candidate planets detected by PLATO will be confirmed with ground-based observations. Planetary masses will be determined through the study of transit time variations or through radial velocity measurements carried out in ground-based observatories.

PLATO is scheduled to be launched in 2026.

This site is maintained by the PLATO Mission Consortium.

PLATO Fast Fact

  • Name: PLATO = PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars
  • Objective: Discover and characterize exoplanetary systems like the solar one
  • Program: ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025  – M Class
  • Launch: 2026
  • Lifetime: at least 4 years
  • Launcher: Soyuz-Fregat from Kourou
  • Orbit: Lissajous L2, continuos observations with field rotation every 3 months
  • Status: Selected as M3 in February 2014. Phase B2 ongoing