NASA’s new planet-hunter TESS to seek new Earth-like worlds


The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is set up to introduce Monday at 6:32 pm (2232 GMT) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Its main goal over the next 2 years is to scan more than 200,000 of the brightest stars for indications of planets circling them and triggering a dip in brightness called a transit.

NASA predicts that TESS will find 20,000 exoplanets– or worlds outside the solar system– including more than 50 Earth-sized planets and as much as 500 worlds less than two times the size of Earth.

” They are going to be orbiting the closest, brightest stars,” Elisa Quintana, TESS scientist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, informed press reporters on Sunday.

” We might even find planets that orbit stars that we can even see with the naked eye,” she added..

” So in the next couple of years we may even have the ability to walk outside and point at a star and understand that it has a world. This is the future.”.

Follow-on to Kepler.
TESS is developed as a follow-on to the United States space company’s Kepler spacecraft, which was the first of its kind and released in 2009. Now, the aging spacecraft is low on fuel and near the end of its life.

Kepler discovered a massive chest of exoplanets by focusing on one patch of sky, which included about 150,000 stars like the Sun.

The Kepler objective found 2,300 validated exoplanets and nearly 4,500 candidates. However lots of were too distant and dim to study further.

TESS, with its 4 advanced electronic cameras, will scan a location that is 350 times bigger, consisting of 85 percent of the sky in the very first 2 years alone.

” By taking a look at such a big section of the sky— this kind of outstanding realty– we open up the capability to cherry-pick the very best stars to do follow up science,” stated Jenn Burt, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)..

” Typically the stars that TESS discovers observes be 30-100 times brighter and 10 times closer than the stars that Kepler focused on.”.

Since TESS utilizes the exact same method as Kepler for finding potential planets, by tracking the dimming of light when a heavenly body passes in front of a star, the next step is for ground-based and space telescopes to peer more detailed.

The Hubble Area Telescope and the James Webb Area telescope, arranged to release in 2020, need to be able to reveal more about planets’ mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere.

” TESS forms a bridge from what we have actually found out about exoplanets to this day and where we are headed in the future,” stated Jeff Volosin, TESS task supervisor at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

By concentrating on worlds dozens to numerous light-years method, TESS must be a stepping stone to future breakthroughs, he said.

” With the hope that at some point, in the next decades, we will have the ability to identify the potential for life to exist outside the solar system.”.

Weather condition was expected to be 80 percent favorable for launch.

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