COROT, a small European astronomical satellite designed to perform stellar seismology and detect tell uric (i.e. rocky) planets by the micro-occultations they produce, should be launched today.
Space.com has the story. COROT is unlikely to find Earth-like planets, but between 10 to 40 larger rocky planets are expected to be discovered during the mission's 2.5 year lifetime.
As of today 182 extra-Solar planets are known, the majority of which are massive gas giants orbit ting much closer to their parent star than the gas giants in our own Solar system do. This class of gas giant are often called hot Jupiters.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006