NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Spacecraft will go on its journey to locate other habitable planets, and stars on April 16, 2018. The mission also aims at replacing the Kepler Spacecraft, which is in its last days of service and may ‘retire’ anytime because of its constantly receding fuel. Here are the many aspects associated with the satellite that every space enthusiast should know about:
No exoplanet will escape Tess’ ‘eyes’
For beginners, an exoplanet is an extrasolar planet outside our solar system that orbits a star. The scientists associated with the project claim that Tess will find at least 1,000 of exoplanets during its voyage and give the space industry a number of discoveries that will keep researchers occupied for ages to come.
Primary focus is at discovering earth-sized habitable zones
The spacecraft, a heir apparent to the Kepler Spacecraft, which has discovered more than 2500 exoplanets, will follow in the latter’s footsteps and discover earth-sized habitable planets or stars. Its predecessor has discovered over 50 “potentially habitable” exoplanets; however, because of their huge distance, it would take “herculean telescopes” to have a further look at them. This time though scientists have decided to avoid these kind of planets and focus more on stars that are ‘brighter’ and ‘closer’ to our mother Earth. Notably, the regions where it’s neither too hot nor too cold to support life are called the Goldilocks Zone.
James Webb Space Telescope to the rescue
The discoverd exoplanets will be examined with the help of James Webb Space Telescope that will be up and running by May 2020, courtesy of NASA, the Canadian Space agency, and the European space agency. With the aid of this ‘device’, scientists will try to analyze the atmosphere of these exoplanets and establish the possibilities of discovering any kind of life form, including microbes.
The 365 Kilogram spacecraft with measurements of 4-feet by 5-feet will be launched aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket. 4 new-and-improved cameras attached to the survey satellite will zoom-in 10 times better as compared to its predecessor- The Kepler.
Since this time the planets being looked for will be ‘nearer’, the range within which the spacecraft will survey would be around 300-500 light years.
Reportedly, the allocated budget for this breakthrough project is around $350 million. The success of the mission primarily depends on the success of the James Webb Telescope.
If you have more details about the mission or want to add any suggestions/facts, kindly shoot them in the comments below!
Images Courtesy: NASA