Cheops: An Extraterrestrial Search

A satellite by the name of Cheops, an acronym for Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite, is currently in the works by the European Space Agency to search for Earthlike planets and, possibily, otherworldly entities. Expected to launch in 2017, this ESA satellite will be surveying solar systems for planets with life-harboring atmospheres by scanning signatures that would indicate a hospitable environment.

Cheops is soon to be one of the first and only satellites of its kind; maintaing a host of capabilities, Cheops' primary functions revolve around targeting solar systems for exoplanets, differentiating these planets as terrestrial or gas giants, and actively identifying key atmospheric conditions for potential life.

The current initiative has been spearheaded by a partnership between ESA, Switzerland, and the contributions of other member states as an effort to manufacteur rapidly developed, low cost, small scale missions into space. Cheops, floating in orbit 500 miles over the Earth’s surface, will be scouring the over 840 exoplanets that we already know about for extraterrestrial, life-affirming qualities.

The SETI team is soon to have a new friend on the scene in humanity's quest to resolve the age-old question: are we alone in this universe?