TESS embarks on a mission to find new planets

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The mission is called TESS, short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, and it will spend two years scanning nearly the entire sky to search for alien worlds.

According to NASA, scientists expect to find about 50 Earth-sized planets and about 20,000 exoplanets in total, of which the vast majority will probably be larger than Neptune, our solar system's fourth biggest planet.

The satellite named Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be launched on board on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. "TESS will cast a wider net than ever before for enigmatic worlds whose properties can be probed by NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and other missions".

Although NASA has not set clear dates on when both space commercial companies are scheduled to carry on flight test on their crewed spaceflight, SpaceX is making a remarkable progress on attaining its commercial crew goals.

It's not clear from where NASA takes that estimate, but it is likely the agency simply hopes two find an exoplanet in every other of the 200,000 starts it will be pointing the telescope at.

That means a planet could potentially harbour alien life - or that it might one day be able to support humanity on our adventures off Earth. Kepler mostly firmed up the fraction of stars that have planets. Powerful cameras on TESS will monitor each section for at least 27 days at a time, looking at the brightest stars. I asked Sara Seager, also at MIT, how close we are to finding Earth's twin. "After that, we have lots of gases we're interested in, but mostly in space were looking for gases that don't belong that are there in high quantities, enough to really be detected from far away". It was in 1992 that the first two exoplanets were discovered orbiting a pulsar-a rapidly rotating neutron star-2,300 light years from Earth.

Combining that information with data gathered by telescopes on Earth scientists will be able to determine the make-up and mass of those planets. TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation.

"TESS is going to dramatically increase the number of planets that we have to study", said Ricker.

On the other hand, scientist may overlook signs of life that is radically different from us. This orbit maximizes the amount of sky the TESS spacecraft can image while keeping the spacecraft in a safe thermal and radiation environment.

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