Launching of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

Launching of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

NASA is planning to launch a new satellite called TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) on April 16, 2018, which will be tasked with finding new planets to be studied for atmospheres capable of supporting life, reports the media outlet Science Alert. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (dubbed TESS for short) is set to embark on a two-year mission to scour our cosmic neighborhood for potentially habitable worlds.

On its two-year mission, TESS will look for planets smaller than Earth all the way to gas giants. That is why they are virtually invisible to optical telescopes.

"Tess will tell us where and when to point", said Cheops' Esa project scientist, Kate Isaak. NASA TV is broadcasting TESS-related content up until the launch, even SpaceX also broadcasting the launch.

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Somewhere out there are 200,000 stars that are about to get their picture taken.

The TESS mission is expected to pinpoint thousands more previously unknown worlds, out of which hundred may be Earth-sized or no larger than twice the size of Earth as such planets would be most likely to feature rocky surfaces or oceans, making them more hospitable to life forms. (Credit: NASA)Why red dwarfs?

It will hopefully happen just in time; NASA's Kepler spacecraft, which has been searching for exoplanets for the last nine years is running on fumes, and it's expected to run out in the next few months, Nadia Drake reports for National Geographic. "I think mine is going to be whatever we find, and it's going to be solar systems you never imagined possible". These are planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. "There's definitely been an evolution of thinking about planetary systems". The powerful cameras on the spacecraft will stare at each sector for at least 27 days, looking at the brightest stars at a two-minute cadence. It may be some time, then, before TESS makes a ground-breaking discovery, but you can watch the beginning of the journey today. In this photo, the lenses are being prepared to go into the thermal chamber for hot-cold cycle testing.

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"The goal is to search for life within our generation". "The exact same thing is happening with stars".

Planet-hunting is a relatively new field for astronomers.

For most of the stars observed by Tess, this special distance will be a short one. Along with 130,000 bigger, hotter stars, these will receive fine-grained observations, meaning that TESS will record their brightness every two minutes instead of every half hour, which is the standard treatment. "On average the stars that TESS observes are 30-100 times brighter and 10 times closer than the stars that Kepler focused on". Using the known planet size, orbit and mass, TESS and ground-based follow-up will be able to determine the planets' compositions.

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