NASA confirms that they have the latest planet hunter to discover new alien worlds. Its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) revealed on April 18 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket around 6:51 pm. The latter spacecraft was deployed into the Earth’s orbit.
TESS is about to have a mission on hunting alien worlds around the stars that are nearby in the sun. In addition to this, the spacecraft is said to be creative as it will go based on a well laid out plan. According to George Ricker, TESS’ principal investigator in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they are going to increase the number of planets that they are going to study with.
Ricker added that they are going to double the number of planets referring to the Kepler space telescope that has currently found 2,650 exoplanets. The 70 percent of which are worlds that are beyond the solar system.
TESS will be using transit method in searching for the alien planets. In this method, they will notice the tiny brightness dips as they cross the host stars’ faces. Unlike its mission way back in 2009 to 2013, Kepler has a new mission known as the K2. It will study various phenomena and cosmic objects especially exoplanets.
Moreover, TESS will also conduct a wide sky survey on its two years prime mission that covers the 85 percent of the sky. The satellite will be focused on the brightest and nearest stars with the use of four cameras that will look for new alien worlds. Additionally, they will also depend on different telescopes on space and on the ground to distinguish its candidates like bona fide planets and new alien worlds.
The TESS will be partnering with NASA’s $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope that will be launched in 2020. James Webb is expected to probe the atmospheres of TESS planets for methane, oxygen, and other potential signs of life.
With the upcoming mission, the team said that in 50 to 100 years, humanity could make tiny robotic spacecraft that can be used to explore a great number of nearby exoplanets. MIT’s Ricker stated that they would be using technology that is more likely to be developed by the $100 million Breakthrough Starshot project. Meanwhile, TESS will launch its final orbit in mid-June, and all of these are according to plan.