NASA’s TESS is Now a Fully Armed and Operational Exoplanet Finder


Hello Space Fans and welcome to another edition
of Space Fan News. After a successful launch on April 18th of
this year onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the next generation of space telescopes to
look for exoplanets, in our galaxy, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has completed its
commissioning phase and is now ready to take observations TESS promises to expand our catalog of exoplanets
and bring humanity a little closer to finding out if we are alone in the galaxy. Well the timing couldn’t be better. As NASA waits to download the last bit of
data and imagery from the venerable Kepler/K2 space telescope later this month, it’s successor,
the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is open for business. TESS is designed to pick up where Kepler left
off and expand on the great discoveries that it produced. While Kepler only looked at one area of sky,
the constellation Cygnus, and stared at over 160,000 stars there looking for tiny dips
in brightness as planets that might be in orbit passed in front of their host star,
TESS will do the same thing, only it will look at the entire sky over a period of two
years. Last month, NASA announced that the commissioning
phase of getting TESS ready to go was going along as expected. They reported that the spacecraft and cameras
were in good health, and the spacecraft has successfully reached its final science orbit. The team continued to conduct tests in order
to optimize spacecraft performance with a goal of beginning science at the end of July. Every new mission goes through a commissioning
period of testing and adjustments before beginning science operations. This serves to test how the spacecraft and
its instruments are performing and determines whether any changes need to be made before
the mission starts observations. JWST’s commissioning is going to last six
months minimum. But I really don’t want to think about that
yet. That’s gonna be a very tense time. Anyway, as part of this process, back in May,
the TESS science team released the very first image taken from the spacecraft. Whenever astronomers take the first image
from things they build, whether it’s a telescope or a spacecraft, they call it first light. Here is the image containing the very first
photons to fall on the TESS detectors in space. This a two-second test exposure using one
of the four TESS cameras. The image, centered on the southern constellation
Centaurus, reveals more than 200,000 stars. The edge of the Coalsack Nebula is in the
right upper corner and the bright star Beta Centauri is visible at the lower left edge. TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times
as much sky as shown in this image with its four cameras during its initial two-year search
for exoplanets. After it took this, on May 30th, the spacecraft
performed one final burn and got gravitational help from the Moon to get it into its science
orbit. TESS is in an unusual spot, it is circling
way outside the planet of the solar system in a highly elliptical orbit that will maximize
the amount of sky the spacecraft can image, allowing it to continuously monitor large
swaths of the sky. So now, as of July 25th, TESS is officially
online and taking survey images. It is expected to transmit its first series
of science data back to Earth this month, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days,
once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth. The TESS Science Team will begin searching
the data for new planets immediately after the first series arrives. Space Fans everywhere are extremely excited
about the possibilities this new spacecraft ushers in. Kepler was designed to look for Earth sized
planets around 160,000 stars and from that five year survey, we learned that there are
on average 1.6 planets for every star in our galaxy. We now know for the first time in our history,
that the possibility for life elsewhere greater than zero and there are plenty of place for
life to thrive if the conditions are favorable. From Kepler and now from TESS, we are learning
more about our place in the cosmos Are we the only ones here? That question has always been seared in our
curiosity and we are driven to find an answer. With each new set of eyes on the galaxy, we
get closer to finding it. That’s it for this episode Space Fans, thanks
so much to these guys, our Patreon Patrons, you all make this possible. You may have noticed there were no ads on
this video, you can thank them for that. Also, I was on a podcast, check out the TFW
Podcast, link in the description box. It was a lot of fun! Thanks to all of you for watching and as always
Keep Looking Up!

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Tess comes to town once a fortnight. I can see TESS Teas, and TESS dinners, TESS gear, TESS garb. we need every reason in the world to have a moment of happiness, let's make it Bigg when they do come around, once a fortnight.

  2. This commissioning could not have come at a better time, given all the news about the other large projects. Thanks, Tony.

  3. Question: What's up with the dust storm on Mars? Why is it not a bigger deal among the people who are interested in that kind of thing? Could the cause be Electrical?

  4. Yay for TESS. πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜Ž
    Find me a new home TESS, humans here are becoming morons. πŸ‘€
    0 dislikes on the video. ✌😍

  5. I'm posting this in a few of the space/science channels I'm subbed to, hopefully someone reading the comments can at least point me in the right direction…If water cannot exist in a liquid state without an atmosphere to protect it, does that mean that all Earth's water existed as ice before the atmosphere was formed (indicating that Earth at one time had a much more distant orbit from Sol and moved inward via interaction with another planet), or was water introduced at some point after the formation of the atmosphere? Or, could much of Earth's water boiled away, contributing to the formation of the atmosphere, and what we have today is what remains? How, do we believe, was the atmosphere formed in the first place?

  6. TESS and JWST will find life around another planet in 10 years. Mark my words. (TESS will find the planet, and JWST will do the spectroscopy that will indicate life.)

  7. *at least 1.6

    I’m calling it. Higher resolution cameras will increase that ratio at least twofold

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