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Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Artist concept of TESS

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA space telescope searching for planets outside of the Solar System. Like the Kepler (spacecraft), it is using occultation to find these extrasolar planets but is searching a larger part of the sky.

TESS was launched on April 18, 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The total value of the launch services contract is US$87 million.[1] SpaceX was awarded the launch in December 2014.[2] As of November 2022 it had found 273 confirmed exoplanets and 4079 possible ones that need further investigation.

Orbit[change | change source]

TESS is orbiting the Earth with a period of about 14 days, which is half of the period of the Moon. The orbit is highly elliptical, closer to the Earth at some points but very far at other times. TESS has four high-resolution cameras and continuously takes photos of the sky. It sends the photos to the laboratory on Earth which makes them available to scientists to study. Members of the public, like astronomy hobbyists and enthusiasts, can also download and see the photos.

The main purpose of TESS is to find planets around other stars. Such planets, when they are orbiting around their stars, partially cover the stars and make them not as bright half of the time. This is called occultation.

TESS satellite is small, about 1.5 meters (4 feet 11 inches) in size, with the solar panel span of 3.7 meters (12 ft). It weighed 350 kilograms (770 pounds) at launch.

References[change | change source]

  1. Beck, Joshua; Diller, George H. (December 16, 2014). "NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite" (Press release). NASA. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  2. Berger, Brian (December 17, 2014). "NASA Taps SpaceX To Launch TESS Satellite". SpaceNews. Retrieved December 21, 2016.

Other websites[change | change source]