PLATO: de cazar a domesticar sistemas planetarios

Today, stellar and planetary physics enjoy an unprecedented boost thanks to space technology. From the first missions such as MOST and CoRoT, to Kepler / K2 and the recently launched TESS, hundreds of new exoplanets have been detected by photometric transits, and thousands more are to be confirmed. The main objective of these missions are to find new planetary systems, around other stars similar to our Sun. Logical detection bias due to technological limits are responsible of the current statistics favouring larger (giant) planets close to their host stars. However the increasing precision of the instrumentation as well as the the increasing sky coverage of the surveys are changing this tendency; now the number of small planets (even super-Earths) at different distances from their stars is clearly growing. In this context comes PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), an ESA mission (M3) that aims, not only to find new planetary systems but mainly to characterize them, that is, very accurately provide the physical parameters of the planets discovered. This will allow us to test the different theories of planetary structure and evolution, as well as the conditions of habitability. The PLATO outcome will definitely provide the best targets for future missions aiming to direct characterise the exoplanets atmospheres. In this talk I will describe the PLATO mission, its scientific objectives and technological challenges and the current state of the project's development. I will also explain the relevant role of the Spanish participation in the mission, and in particular the role of two scientific centres in Granada: the IAA-CSIC and the University of Granada.

14/06/2018 - 12:30
Dr. Juan Carlos Suárez
UGR, Spain