May 20, 2018

SpaceX launches Nasa's new planet-hunting satellite

20 April 2018, 12:37 | Camille Rivera

Watch live: SpaceX launching NASA's exoplanet-hunting spacecraft at 3:51 pm PDT

TESS Mission - NASA Blogs

NASA's TESS satellite launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, on a mission to catalog thousands of planets outside the Solar System.

"This method, called asteroseismology, helps us understand newly discovered planet systems, and gives us a way to study detailed physics inside stars under extreme conditions we can not reproduce here on Earth", he says.

Launch of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will compile rapid survey of nearly the entire sky, yielding a list of new "worlds" for detailed follow-up.

Alongside the chief mission of NASA TESS spacecraft, the global community of scientists can conduct research on various other aspects like exoplanet characterization, stellar astrophysics, solar system and distant galaxies.

After the liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket sent the spacecraft on its way to orbit.

Launching occurred with a two-day delay due to a last-minute technical problem.

According to Robert Lockwood, TESS spacecraft program manager at Orbital ATK, the Virginia-based company that was building the satellite for NASA, told that the orbit is very stable and that it provides thermal protection and low radiation for the satellite.

The telescope was created by MIT University, which has the scientific responsibility for the cost of 337 million USA dollars mission, in collaboration with the Space Flight Center of the NASA Goddard. Like with other satellites, imagery from TESS will be used to analyze the possible characteristics of planets and their atmospheres.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket seen carrying the Tess planet-hunting spacecraft into orbit.

TESS will also pave the way for followup observations of the planets it finds. Over the next two years, the satellite will break down the night sky into 26 different sectors, each about 24 degrees by 96 degrees.

TESS will be watching for phenomena called transits.

The satellite is created to look for planets around those stars using the transit method, meaning that it will detect small dips in a star's light that occur when a planet passes across the face of its star from TESS's perspective. Numerous leaders of the TESS mission and the field of exoplanet studies in general were trained in an era when we truly didn't know if our sun was uniquely well endowed.

While Kepler has focused on stars thousands of light-years away, Tess will concentrate on our stellar neighbours which are dozens or hundreds of light-years away.

"I'm most excited about the large number of planets that are between the size of Earth and Neptune that TESS will find", Quintana says. No one is looking forward to losing what has been the most successful planet-finder in history-a mission that revealed there are more planets in the sky than stars. TESS's four wide-field cameras were developed by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory.

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