Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA's TESS Spacecraft starts its hunt for planets

NASA's TESS Spacecraft starts its hunt for planets

"In one of the last passes, TESS performed a 'break dance, ' rotating around to evaluate any stray light sources to characterize camera performance for the duration of the mission", the space agency wrote on Twitter in June.

"I'm thrilled that our new planet hunter mission is ready to start scouring our solar system's neighborhood for new worlds", Paul Hertz, head of NASA's astrophysics division, said in the statement about TESS.

"Now we are well aware that the planets in the Universe is more than stars, and I look forward to the opening of the extremely freaky and just plain weird worlds", said Paul Hertz (Paul Hertz), the head of the Astrophysics division of NASA.

"I am incredibly pleased that our new "hunter planet" began to "sweep" the Galaxy in search of still unknown worlds". As it approaches Earth, it will rotate, and transmit all its accumulated data to scientists on the ground. "With possibly more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the odd, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover". TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation.

The spacecraft was launched on April 18, 2018, with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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During that survey, it will focus on the 200,000 brightest stars in the sky - which means the project should identify planets around numerous stars that skywatchers know and love. In this process, the spacecraft will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars to search for transiting exoplanets.

NASA's newest planet-hunting satellite began operations last week and is expected to send back its first series of data in August, the US space agency said in a statement Saturday. These events suggest that a planet may be passing in front of a star and are called transits.

For the next two years, the satellite will be tracking the nearest, brightest stars and keeping a lookout for transits, which are periodic dips in the star's light.

The TESS telescope equipped with four telescopes with matrices a resolution of 16.8 megapixels, which operate in the spectral range from 600 to 1000 nanometers. The spacecraft is expected to explore more than 1,600 new exoplanets throughout its two-year mission.

The mission is being led by MIT, though the Goddard Space Flight Center is managing it.

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