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Detection of Earth-like Planets with the COROT Space Mission

Detection of Earth-like Planets with the COROT Space Mission

M. Deleuil, P. Barge, A. Leger, J. Schneider
Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale - CNRS, Marseille, France

The large number of disks surrounding young forming stars as well as the recent detections of massive extra-solar planets suggest that planetary formation commonly occurs. The next challenge is clearly the detection of Earth-like planets. From the ground their detection is likely to remain problematic due to the very low masses and luminosities inferred, whereas space observations enable these detections. The french space mission COROT (COnvection & CORotation) originally devoted to asteroseismology, is also particularly well adapted for the detection of low-mass objects, using the method of stellar occultations. Due to its high photometric accuracy, a few tens of detections can be expected over the mission life time, assuming that about 50% of stars possess an Earth-like planet.