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NASA turns on the Tess probe and starts searching for alien worlds



NASA has begun a great search for alien worlds.

The agency's Tess space probe has launched its scientific missions, exploring the universe as it looks for new planets. The engineers hope that eventually it will find thousands of alien worlds, some of which could be habitable.

The ship – whose name stands for Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite – will look deep into the universe for signs of planets. All that are found are explored from afar when scientists try to figure out what it could be like on this planet and if life could survive there.

Like the Kepler satellite, her Tess will use a detection method called transit photometry. This includes observing distant stars for light incidents caused by planets in front of them, and using the patterns of these dips to figure out how big they might be and how big their orbits are.

This technique has already enabled Kepler to find thousands of possible planets, some of which are important candidates for habitability. It is expected that Tess will find thousands more.

His work has already begun and it will send its first scientific data in August. After that, it will provide new insights about every two weeks, and the science team will search for signs of planets as it arrives.

"I'm thrilled that our planet hunter is ready to open the backyard of our solar system for new worlds," said Paul Hertz, head of the NASA Astrophysics Division at the Washington headquarters. "With possibly more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the strange, fantastic worlds we need to discover."

Tess's mission is set to last two years. But Kepler and other NASA projects have taken much longer than these initial projects, so it could peek through our universe for much longer.


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