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NASA's New Planet Hunter starts searching for alien worlds



  NASA's New Planet Hunter begins its search for alien worlds

A representation of the Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) at work (not to scale)

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The The latest NASA telescope for planet hunting is officially at work.

The Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was developed to search for alien planets around stars that are not too far from the Sun, collected scientific data on Wednesday (July 25). Members of the Instrument Team announced yesterday (July 27):

TESS will send this initial data to Earth in August, with new observations arriving every 1

3.5 days thereafter, mission team members said in a statement.

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

TESS launched into orbit around the Earth on April 18, then underwent a test phase to ensure that the instrument was ready to use. It sent its first photo, a test image, to its dealers in May. This picture showed 200,000 individual stars, many of which could be accompanied by at least one planet.

TESS follows in the footsteps of NASA's iconic Kepler Telescope, which has identified 2,650 confirmed exoplanets over two missions depending on space. Agency. Like Kepler, TESS will search for tiny dips in the brightness of individual stars caused by a planet orbiting between its star and the telescope in its orbit.

But while Kepler was confined to a small piece of sky during his primary mission, TESS will examine almost the entire sky in his two planned observation years. During this survey, it will focus on the 200,000 brightest stars in the sky – meaning that the project should identify planets around many of the stars that Skywalkers know and love.

The team that designed TESS calculated that the instrument should see approximately 1,600 new exoplanets, including the size of the Earth

Some TESS spots on planets are likely targets for a follow-up by the much-delayed James NASA's Web Space Telescope, which can study and start the atmospheres of these planets. You can characterize them more accurately than TESS can handle.

Send Meghan Bartels an e-mail to mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels . Follow us @SpaceTotcom Facebook and Google+ . Original article on Space.com .


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