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ESA Launches CHEOPS – Mission: “Are We Alone?”

ESA Launches CHEOPS - Mission: “Are We Alone?” 1

“CHEOPS will take exoplanet science to a whole new level,” Günther Hasinger, ESA Science Director has said, on the newest orbital telescope in the world, whose name means “CH Featuring ExOPlanet Satellite”(Exoplanet Characterization Satellite), launched on Wednesday morning (18) aboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA Launches CHEOPS - Mission: “Are We Alone?”Cheops shares the ride into space with the Italian space agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation satellite and three CubeSats: ESA’s OPS-SAT and the French space agency’s CNES’s EYE-SAT and ANGELS satellites.

Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered in the last three decades, reports Dennis Overbye of the New York Times, by ground-based astronomers like Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, of the University of Geneva, who were awarded the Nobel Prize this year and discovered the first known exoplanets from Earth using the wobble method. Dr. Queloz was in attendance at the launch.

Kate Isaak, the mission project scientist, said:

CHEOPS will help us unravel the mysteries of these fascinating worlds and take us one step closer to answering one of the deepest questions that humans ponder: Are we alone in the universe?

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