TESS telescope will be launched today to look for exoplanets

The launch of the new NASA’s TESS (Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite) TESS (Space Shuttle Space Telescope), which will only search for exoplanets, is scheduled tonight. TESS, the successor to the very successful Kepler Space Telescope, is expected to launch from Cape Verde, Florida, at 01:30 GMT on Tuesday, with a Space X Falcon 9 rocket. If the weather is bad, the launch will be postponed for tomorrow.

After the appropriate maneuvers lasting about two months, the satellite telescope, which has a refrigerator size and weighs 318 kilos, will be placed in a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth, to which no other boat has ever been fitted.

The telescope will make a complete rotation around our planet every 13.7 days, moving away from the Earth 108,000 kilometers (perimeter) to 373,000 kilometers (at the peak). Every time he approaches Earth, he will send scientists the information he has collected in the meantime.

TESS will turn its look (its four cameras) into the sky to look for traces of planets that pass in front of at least 200,000 Earth-like stars that are away from our planet up to 300 light-years away. This will open the way to the even larger American space telescope, James Webb, which will follow in 2020.

In its first year of operation, the telescope will observe the sky of the southern hemisphere, while in the second year of the northern hemisphere, to cover more than 85% of the sky, the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency transmits.

Kepler, which now runs out of fuel and stops operating by the end of 2018, has already found more than 5,000 candidate exoplanets, of which about half have been confirmed by other telescopes. Kepler has identified nearly two-thirds of a total of about 3,700 confirmed exoplanets to date.

TESS will search for a sky area about 350 times larger than Kepler and will focus on smaller, cold and faint stars than our Sun, the red dwarfs, which make up about 90% of the stars of the galaxy us. It is expected to find within two years at least 20,000 exoplanets, some of them “earthy”.

The telescope was created by MIT University, which also has the scientific responsibility for the $ 337 million mission cost, headed by astrophysicist George Ricker, in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The launch of TESS will be broadcast live on NASA’s TV.