ibusinesslines.com August 20, 2018

NASA TESS spacecraft begins major exoplanet hunting mission

01 August 2018, 05:27 | Justin Tyler

An artist's depiction of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite at work. Credit NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's New Planet Hunter Begins Its Search for Alien Worlds

The main difference of the new mission is that scientists will investigate objects that have been deleted no further than 300 light years Kepler studied the stars within three thousand light-years.

On July 25, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) officially began its science operation with the exciting goal of seeking out new exoplanets in its wake.

"Now that we know there are more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the odd, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover", Paul Hertz, NASA's Division of Science Mission Directorate's director of the Astrophysics, said in a statement.

This new planet-hunting satellite will be trying to fill the large footsteps of NASA's previous hunter, the Kepler telescope, which logged in two missions and the discovery of 2,650 confirmed exoplanets.

"With possibly more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the unusual, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover", said Hertz.

The spacecraft is expected to beam back its first collection of scientific data in August, and every 13.5 days after that, when it periodically reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth.

An artist's illustration of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

On April 18, TESS was first shot into Earth orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and commissioning checks were taking place up until fairly recently, as NASA noted in an update on June 11, according to Space. A transit occurs when a planet passes in front of its star from the observer's perspective, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star's brightness. TESS has started to explore nearby stars in search for planets. The mission is expected to find thousands of new planets, some of which could potentially support life.

The telescope has four cameras, each with a 16.8 megapixel sensor. TESS will watch each observation sector for about 27 days before rotating to the next. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is working together with TESS spacecraft to monitor this region in order to find and study exoplanets.

The TESS NASA mission is led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is being managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"TESS will search 85 percent of our sky for exoplanets orbiting bright stars and our nearest stellar neighbors", Martin Still, NASA headquarters program scientist for TESS, told Newsweek.

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