In 2009, the French space telescope CoRoT, in which DLR was also involved, discovered the CoRoT-7b exoplanet at a distance of 500 light years from Earth. It orbits its star (seen in the background) at the relatively small distance of two-and-a-half million kilometres. For comparison, Mercury, the Solar System’s innermost planet, orbits the Sun at around 55 million kilometres. CoRot-7b only needs about 20 hours to circumnavigate its host star, which places it into the ultra-short-period exoplanet category. The exoplanet has about eight times the mass of Earth and its ‘day’ side can reach temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Celsius. The planet therefore cannot have any oceans and is unlikely to support life. The PLATO mission will be searching in particular for Earth-like exoplanets.