The European Space Agency has announced the selection of the Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission as part of the Cosmic Vision 2015–25 Programme. According to ESA, the mission will address themes of the Cosmic Vision that include, "what are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life" and "how does the Solar System work?"

The mission will be composed of 34 separate small telescopes and cameras, which will rest in the L2 Langrangian points 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Lagrangian points are positions in space relative to the Earth and the Sun where a small object is affected by the gravity of the two larger objects in such a way that it remains in a constant-pattern with the planet. Basically, the combined gravitation pull of the Earth and Sun will keep PLATO positioned in the same spot relative to Earth indefinitely. Earth's second Lagrangian point (L2) sits behind the Earth relative to the Sun.

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