APR 11, 2018 07:12 PM PDT

Will TESS Provide New Insights Regarding Exoplanets?

The Kepler Space Telescope’s days are numbered due to limited fuel resources, but that won’t keep astronomers from continuing their search for distant exoplanets. An upcoming spacecraft known as the Transitioning Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) aims to pick up where Kepler left off, and it’s set to launch very soon.

An artist's impression of the TESS spacecraft in space.

Image Credit: NASA

Equipped with four separate camera systems that support 24 by 24-degree fields of view, the MIT-built TESS will have all the observational power it needs to capture valuable data involving both gassy and terrestrial exoplanets. 

Once astronomers get preliminary detection data from TESS, they’ll use other observational powerhouses, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, to explore said worlds in greater detail.

"TESS is kind of like a scout," explained Natalia Guerrero, the deputy manager of an MIT-based focus dubbed ‘TESS Objects of Interest.’

"We're on this scenic tour of the whole sky, and in some ways, we have no idea what we will see. It's like we're making a treasure map: Here are all these cool things. Now, go after them."

Related: Exoplanets orbiting red dwarf stars are unlikely to support life

The TESS mission is poised to blast off from a launch pad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday, April 16th at 6:32 P.M. Eastern time. It’ll hitch a ride atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and then spend two years in space surveying almost the entire sky.

When TESS reaches space, it won’t commence scientific observations straightaway. Instead, the spacecraft will undergo a 60-day probationary period in which NASA engineers will test its onboard instruments to ensure proper operation.

Once TESS completes the testing phase, it will begin spying on distant star systems in an attempt to detect dips in starlight. Any blips could indicate the presence of an exoplanet, which astronomers will then attempt to learn more about.

It should be interesting to see how TESS will shape our knowledge about distant exoplanets. After all, scientists are itching to find yet another potentially-habitable world like Earth.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 06, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 06, 2018
New Horizons Wakes Up From Low-Power State to Prep for Upcoming KBO Encounter
NASA’s Pluto-visiting New Horizons spacecraft has finally woken up after being in a low power mode-like state since December 21st of last year. Citin...
JUL 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 08, 2018
NASA Engineers Install Revolutionary Heat Shield on the Parker Solar Probe
Despite all the things we’ve learned about the Sun over the years, we still have much to learn. Fortunately, NASA plans to send a specially-made spac...
JUL 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 10, 2018
Listen to the Eerie Plasma Waves That Move From Saturn to Enceladus
When NASA’s Cassini spacecraft performed its grand finale before plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, the spacecraft’s Radio Plasma Wave Sc...
AUG 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 08, 2018
Here's Why NASA is Sending a Probe to the Sun
An upcoming NASA probe will fly closer to the Sun than any before it. Known as the Parker Solar Probe, this spacecraft will study the Sun and many of its q...
AUG 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 14, 2018
Astronomers Spy Supermassive Black Hole At the Center of An Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxy
It’s not uncommon for astronomers to find supermassive black holes at the center of massive galaxies, but it is somewhat unusual for astronomers to s...
AUG 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 27, 2018
These Are Some of the Oldest Galaxies in the Universe, Astronomers Say
While exploring the depths of the universe, astronomers from Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Harvard-Smithsonian Ce...
Loading Comments...