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Technology NASA Is Launching Its Next Planet-Hunting Telescope

18:21  12 april  2018
18:21  12 april  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

NASA Tess spacecraft to prowl for planets as galactic scout

  NASA Tess spacecraft to prowl for planets as galactic scout Look up at the sky tonight. Every star you see, plus hundreds of thousands, even millions more, will come under the intense stare of NASA's newest planet hunter. Look up at the sky tonight. Every star you see, plus hundreds of thousands, even millions more, will come under the intense stare of NASA's newest planet hunter.

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 .

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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’s Newest Satellite Will Scan the Universe for Undiscovered Exoplanets

  NASA’s Newest Satellite Will Scan the Universe for Undiscovered Exoplanets The space agency’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is scheduled for launch next week and is expected to add significantly to the number of known exoplanets. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will zero in on 200,000 stars, which could potentially yield hundreds of new exoplanet discoveries. TESS will target areas of the sky where new planets will likely be easier to spot than those studied by the venerable Kepler Space Telescope, giving observatories on the ground a better chance of confirming the discovery of new exoplanets.

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.

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.

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, SpaceX to launch spacecraft to find another Earth We speak to scientists behind a new mission to find nearby exoplanets that could host life.TESS, a new NASA planet-hunting spacecraft, is set to write the next revolutionary chapter in astronomy by revealing more details about the nearest exoplanets and, perhaps, uncovering the first signs of life seen beyond our spinning rock.

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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.

Cracks on Mars Reveal a System of Ancient Lakes .
<p>A study published Thursday confirmed that the cracks identified on Mars' surface last year by the Curiosity rover are indeed evidence of ancient lakes that likely dried up about 3.5 billion years ago.</p>The study, published online in Geology, proved that cracks on Mars' surface previously photographed by Curiosity are indeed desiccation mudcracks which could have only been formed when wet sediment was exposed to the air. This conclusion was based on an analysis of a single area of rock known as “Old Soaker.

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