TESS to launch and replace Kepler in the search for exoplanets

Brian G Turner

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NASA’s new exoplanet-hunting telescope set to launch on Monday

NASA’s next exoplanet-hunting telescope is preparing for launch. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is scheduled to blast off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on 16 April.

TESS is take up the mantle of the Kepler Space Telescope, which is expected to run out of fuel by the end of this year. Kepler has found more than 5000 exoplanet candidates so far, and confirmed about half of them. TESS will be able to search 350 times more area of the sky than Kepler can, and is expected to find about 20,000 exoplanets in its first two years alone.

It will take about two months after launch to manouevre the satellite into its orbit – about half as far from Earth as the moon – and test its cameras. “After that, there’ll just be a flood of information,” says the mission’s principal investigator, George Ricker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Looking forward to seeing results from this - and what the James Webb telescope can do with them. :)
 

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