National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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NCCR PlanetS director Willy Benz with a CHEOPS mock-up. (Photo Alessandro Della Bella)


Dear Reader

Time flies! Over 7 years have passed since PlanetS was established (2014) and yet we feel that the more research we do, the more questions emerge and the more exciting they are! And not only for us, everywhere the huge interest in the field keeps growing! It gives everybody, young and old, the feeling of taking part in an extraordinary scientific adventure.

The good news is that our pre-proposal for a third phase was welcomed by the panel of international experts set up by the SNSF to evaluate PlanetS. This represents a major milestone towards an extension of PlanetS for another four years (2022-2026) at the forefront of the action. And there will be a lot of new action as the technologies evolve soon enabling detailed spectroscopic studies of planetary atmospheres from the ground as well as from space. This will open the door to the assessment of the habitability of planets and ultimately to the search for life. We have successfully positioned PlanetS in several related initiatives and you can read about two of them in this issue of the Observer. We also offer a glimpse of the exciting theoretical work aimed at understanding the composition of planets and what made the Earth so special. This is one example of why studying other planets can help us better understand our own. Finally, we make it a priority to communicate to a public as large as possible our motivation at understanding how planet form, evolve and possibly, for some of them, harbor life and what this brings to society. You will find several articles from portraits to exhibits and shows that PlanetS scientists participated in recently. I hope you will have a great time in reading the stories as we did when we attended these events.

Wishing you a pleasant reading, I remain


Sincerely Yours,

Willy Benz

Categories: External Newsletter

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