Eddington (space telescope)
Eddington was an ESA mission, now cancelled, to understand the
physical processes that govern the evolution of stars of different types
and ages, and to search for and determine the characteristics of Earth-like
planets orbiting other stars. The first objective uses asteroseismology,
the only method that effectively allows us to probe the interior structure
of stars. While the second objective makes use of transits,
or dips in the light curve, in front of the parent star, to detect Earth-size
planets. Eddington would have followed 500,000 stars and was projected to
find several thousand planets including several dozen Earth-like planets
in the habitable zones. Both objectives
would have been be achieved with the same payload: a wide-field 1.2-meter
triple reflection optical telescope and associated CCD camera yielding high-accuracy
long photometric time series for a large number of stars in the field of
view. Eddington was identified as a reserve mission for launch between 2008
and 2013. Its mission was similar to that of NASA's Kepler and would have been a forerunner to that of ESA's GAIA.
Unfortunately, budget constraints led to its cancellation in November 2003.
It is the first time that ESA has cancelled a space mission.
AND SPACE PROBES