Contrary to many of the crazy stories we see about the people in Florida, NASA actually has something very interesting planned for Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX (which, if you don’t know about SpaceX already then you’re not doing life right) has provided NASA the vehicle and launchpad for TESS.
TESS is NASA’s new “planet-hunting-satellite” that (originally meant to launch on Monday, April 16th) has a target launch on Wednesday, April 18th.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (or TESS) aims to search for “exoplanets” (planets outside our solar system), that could support life.
Course and Specs
TESS will survey an area that includes 200,000 of the brightest stars nearby, over the course of 2 years.
The first year is to be spent focused on the Southern Hemisphere of the sky while the second year, on to the Northern Hemisphere. The sky is “divided” into 13 sections and each section is concentrated on for 27 days before moving on to the next section.
Being the size of a fridge, there are a few cameras on top, but protected by cones (to avoid radiation). These cameras can detect small dwarf stars to look for exoplanets around them – red dwarf stars are known to host exoplanets.
Now the fun thing about the TESS is that it can store data of more than 1,500 exoplanets, and potentially find thousands more. CNN reports that officials anticipate 300 Earth-sized exoplanets that could be the potentially support life outside of our solar system.
These exoplanets would be rocky and could allow liquid water on their surface.
The $337 million “planet hunter” TESS is a follow up to NASA’s previous experiment known as Kepler, which is close to running out of fuel. Kepler spent 8 years looking for planets.
In this extensive search, over 2,600 planets were found but TESS is expected to uncover much more than that.
Doesn’t this just blow your mind? The possibility of finding thousands of planets where we could potentially live on (or generations after us)?
Putting aside how we might get to visit another planet some day, what if the search uncovers different types of life form?