NASA Adds New 'Planet Hunter' to its Spacecraft Fleet

NASA Adds New 'Planet Hunter' to its Spacecraft Fleet

Lori Glaze, the current head of the Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Coronary heart in Greenbelt, Maryland, will turn into performing director of the Planetary Sciences Division when Inexperienced assumes his new place, firm officers talked about. Christiansen, as well as the eight other scientists and representatives who spoke at the briefing, all stressed the diversity of the exoplanets, many of which hold traits that have not been seen before.

On Monday, April 16, 2018, NASA will launch their new TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey) satellite to search for alien planets orbiting distant stars.

They both work on the same principle, which is really quite simple: when a planet (or anything else) passes between us and a star (a "transit"), the brightness of that star temporarily dims.

But if Kepler was a telephoto aimed at dim targets far in the distance, TESS is an ultra-wide-angle lens that will watch almost the entire visible sky.

That camera, an engineering model of the four being launched with NASA 's TESS mission, revealed a night thick with stars.

The first year of observations will cover 13 sectors encompassing the southern sky and the second year will map the remaining 13 sectors of the northern sky.

During its almost ten-year term in space, the Kepler mission confirmed more than 2,600 exoplanets, many of them thousands of light years away.

"We expect TESS will discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life, could be precisely measured by future observers".

The Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite has been in the works for years and in a way could be considered a sort of direct successor to the Kepler, the incredibly fruitful mission that has located thousands of exoplanets over almost a decade. The targets TESS finds are going to be fantastic subjects for research for decades to come.

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TESS being checked pre-launch; engineers included for scale.

But the best part of all may be that numerous stars observed will be visible to the naked eye.

While alien planet discoveries grab headlines, data from the planet hunters can tell us much more about other aspects of our galaxy and beyond.

Instead of the regular care packages usually sent to NASA astronauts on the International Space Station, SpaceX hopes to fire an exoplanet satellite known as TESS into the great expanse.

Taking over for the Kepler Space Telescope is no easy feat.

With the help of a gravitational assist from the Moon, the spacecraft will settle into a 13.7-day orbit around Earth, NASA said in an earlier statement. "Nobody's done this before, and I suspect other programs will try to use this orbit later on".

TESS will have enough fuel to get into the planned orbit and to get its mission done for at least 2 years.

The satellite will be traveling on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and the new launch will mark yet another venture between NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX company. "We have no idea what we're going to see at that timescale". Eastern. Launch coverage will begin at 6 p.m.

You'll be able to watch the launch live, of course; I'll add a link as soon as it's available.

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