Money NASA Is Launching Its Next Planet-Hunting Telescope

17:57  12 april  2018
17:57  12 april  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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SpaceX is gearing up to launch NASA 's next big exoplanet hunter on Monday (April 16), now that a successful test-fire of its Falcon 9 rocket is under the SpaceX has test-fired its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral ahead of Monday’s scheduled launch of a NASA exoplanet- hunting telescope .

NASA is planning to launch its next telescope into space on Monday during a window that opens at 6:32 p.m. Eastern time. The instrument, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and nicknamed TESS, is designed to identify thousands of exoplanets.

An artist's conception of what TESS will look like in action.© NASA'S GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER An artist's conception of what TESS will look like in action. NASA is planning to launch its next telescope into space on Monday during a window that opens at 6:32 p.m. Eastern time. The instrument, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and nicknamed TESS, is designed to identify thousands of exoplanets. Scientists are excited about the prospect the mission holds for new discoveries, but if you're just learning about the mission now, here's what you need to know.

TESS is the successor to Kepler, which revolutionized exoplanet science and is responsible for spotting almost three quarters of the planets astronomers have identified to date. But Kepler will run out of fuel sometime in the next few months, so scientists have been working for years to make sure something would be ready to replace it.

NASA Is Launching Its Next Planet-Hunting Telescope

  NASA Is Launching Its Next Planet-Hunting Telescope Scientists are excited about the prospect the mission holds for new discoveries, but if you're just learning about the mission now, here's what you need to know.TESS is the successor to Kepler, which revolutionized exoplanet science and is responsible for spotting almost three quarters of the planets astronomers have identified to date. But Kepler will run out of fuel sometime in the next few months, so scientists have been working for years to make sure something would be ready to replace it.

If you aren’t excited about NASA ’s next science launch in a week’s time, you really should be. Many of the planets discovered by TESS will be prime targets for future missions, like the constantly delayed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), to study their atmospheres.

TESS will survey more than 200,000 of the brightest stars in the sky during its two-year mission. The search for the planets outside solar system will reach next level with the launch of NASA ’s new planet - hunting mission. TESS is virtually the successor of NASA ’s Kepler Space Telescope .

The new mission was inspired by Kepler's approach to spotting exoplanets, although planning for TESS began before Kepler even launched. Both telescopes are designed to spot the tiny dips in a star's brightness as a planet passes between the telescope and the star.

Kepler's main mission did that for a specific patch of stars, staring at the same section of the sky constantly. Instead, TESS is designed to cover the whole sky in 26 different segments. "One of the things that had never really been done in space was a comprehensive search for transits," TESS scientific leader George Ricker, an astronomer at MIT, told Newsweek.

But TESS is still targeting a specific subset of stars: It is focused on small bright stars that are fairly close to Earth. "This will really be the first time that many of these really bright stars, that have names, that we know and love, will be surveyed for variations," Ricker said.

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NASA 's next exoplanet-hunting space telescope has arrived in Florida, two months ahead of its planned launch . In Mid-April NASA will launch next generation planet hunting space - www.nextbigfuture.com.

NASA plans to launch its next telescope on Monday in a space telescope that opens at 1. 8:32. Both telescopes are designed to detect the tiny dips in the brightness of a star as a planet passes between the telescope and the star.

There's also a practical reason for prioritizing planets located around these bright stars. They will be easiest for astronomers to study again with the even higher-powered telescopes they'll need to start understanding what the planets look like—and, for example, whether they might be attractive to life.

Those planets will be quite close to their star, since TESS will need to spot them orbit multiple times in a given 27-day-long survey of a specific sky segment. According to the predictions mission scientists have made for the telescope, it should be able to find about 20,000 exoplanets, of which dozens should be about the size of Earth. "It's a huge crop of planets," Ricker said.

TESS will hitch a ride on a Falcon 9 rocket and should begin observations about two months after its arrival in space. The survey is scheduled to last two years, although the telescope will be able to stay in its orbit for decades so NASA could easily extend its mission.

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