French spaceship begins search for new planets | india | Hindustan Times
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French spaceship begins search for new planets

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 04:46 IST

A French-made spacecraft began its two-and-a-half year search for undiscovered planets suitable for human habitation outside our solar system on Wednesday, scientists said.

The satellite, known by the acronym COROT, was successfully put into its circular polar orbit by a Russian rocket after blasting off from Kazakhstan at 8:23 pm (1523 IST), Euro-Russian space agency Starsem said.

COROT is a cooperation between France's national space research centre CNES — which is assuming the lion's share of the 170 million euros (225 million dollars) cost — the European Space Agency (ESA), Brazil, Germany, Austria and Belgium.

Armed with a 30-centimetre telescope and two cameras, COROT (Convection Rotation and planetary Transits) will seek out new planets, possibly confirming the existence of rocky celestial bodies with physical properties comparable to the solar system's own planets.