NASA’s famous exoplanet satellite has sent back images, and it is more than what we were waiting for. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has captured over 200,000 stars in the image according to NASA. One of TESS’s four cameras captured the image.
NASA’s TESS made a grand launch in April this year. The satellite launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force base in Florida aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Block 4 rocket. The rocket deployed TESS into Earth’s orbit 49 minutes after liftoff.
The exoplanet satellite will search for alien worlds and would continue the work of Kepler. NASA’s space telescope called Kepler has found 2650 exoplanets. Kepler has explored 70% of the worlds beyond the solar system.
Kepler stared at one part of the sky and monitored over 150,000 stars. After Kepler’s planet-hunting expedition, the telescope is now on a different mission called K2. The telescope will research on cosmic objects and phenomena.
SpaceX and NASA delayed TESS’s launch for two days before the successful launch of the satellite. TESS would cover about 85% of the sky in its two-year mission.
TESS captured the image on May 17. The camera captured the image after flying by the moon. The satellite had to fly past the moon to be able to enter into its final orbit. The exoplanet satellite will start searching for planets in June.
The image the camera captured is not of the best quality. According to NASA, the camera will capture images of high quality when the cameras are done calibrating. NASA will further study the planets that TESS will discover in a new mission.
The new mission will begin in 2020. NASA will launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2020 to allow scientists to study the planets that TESS will find. The James Webb Space telescope will focus on four areas; planets, the formation of stars, galaxies in the early universe, and the first light in the universe.
The telescope will launch aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
The telescope’s spacecraft elements underwent environmental tests in April this year. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems conducted the test. They will do more tests to ascertain whether the spacecraft elements can survive the harsh environment in space.
The launch of the James Webb Space telescope was initially slated for 2019, but NASA had to postpone the launch date because the elements of the telescope will need further testing.