“The Moon pulls the satellite on one side, and by the time TESS completes one orbit, the Moon is on the other side tugging in the opposite direction”.
“This is the reason we’re all so excited”, said Jessie Christiansen, an astronomer at Caltech and Nasa’s Exoplanet Science Institute who sits on the steering committee for Tess’ follow-up working group. These mysterious worlds beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, could harbor life. The majority of stars in the Tess survey will be 300 light-years to 500 light-years away, according to Ricker. The Webb will be able to analyze planets’ atmospheres for signatures of habitability.
TESS will look for exoplanets using the transit method, observing slight dips in the brightness of stars as planets pass in front of them.
The Spacecraft: At 5 feet (1.5 meters), Tess is shorter than most adults and downright puny compared with most other spacecraft. Tess will detect any such blips. Scientists expect to discover thousands of planets that, over time, will undergo further scrutiny by powerful telescopes in space and on Earth. NASA and MIT are encouraging the public to get engaged and examine the data provided by the mission. I don’t think we know everything TESS is going to accomplish. TESS arrived in Feburary after it was constructed and tested at a facility in Virginia run by Orbital ATK.
Equipped with four specialized cameras, the $337 million satellite has a field of view that will cover 85 percent of the sky. “It’s time for us to find the planets that are closest to us orbiting bright, nearby stars, because these will be the touchstone systems”. Even more notable, the Falcon 9 will deliver TESS into an orbit around Earth that has never before been attempted: a wide ellipse that will take TESS well beyond the orbit of the Moon, The Guardian reports.
Diagram of the maneuvers that will lead to the final TESS orbit, in light blue. AI could allow a Mars Rover, for example, to operate for weeks or months when out of contact with Earth. If all goes to plan, the satellite will settle into a long, looping orbit around Earth in June. “That’s one of the unique things TESS brings that was not possible before”.
If you want to watch the launch live, the video window above will spring to life shortly before the launch is scheduled to take place.
Update 16 April 2018: The scheduled 16 April launch of the TESS satellite has been delayed.
That means a planet that could potentially harbour alien life – or that it might one day be able to support humanity on our adventures off Earth.
Less than 10 minutes after launch, the rocket’s first stage returned to an upright landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, marking SpaceX’s 24th touchdown of a rocket booster.