NASA began the search for "Earth’s twins"


TESS is expected to reveal at least 50 Earth-sized exoplanets by monitoring nearly the entire sky during the two-year survey.

Paul Hertz, the NASA Astrophysics division director at the Headquarters in Washington, said, "I'm thrilled that our new planet hunter mission is ready to start scouring our solar system's neighborhood for new worlds".

A planet-hunting satellite created to search for so-called exoplanets around nearby stars is poised to start beaming its first package of data back to Earth.

Back in May, TESS snapped its first image as a two-second exposure test.

"Now that we know there are more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the odd, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover", Paul added. The first scientific data from the telescope will pass in August and will continue to contact Earth for data transmission every 13.5 days when the machine will be closer to fly to the Ground. It will spend the next two years rocketing through the cold reaches of space, training an array of cameras and monitors on the darkness - and looking for the periodic dips in light that suggest the presence of planets against the fiery brightness of the stars they orbit.

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NASA's exoplanet-hunting satellite TESS is fully operational and has begun scanning the skies for distant planets, NASA reported on Friday.

His task, as Kepler is finding planets by the transit method, that is tracking a change in the light of the star during the passage of the planet on its disk. In this process, the spacecraft will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars to search for transiting exoplanets. It will do this using four cameras, each equipped with a 16.8-megapixel sensor covering a square 24 degrees wide - large enough to contain an entire constellation.

NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission, TESS, is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and led and operated by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to NASA, more than a dozen observatories, universities, and institutes are participating in the mission, as well.

For updates on the progress of the mission, there is an official NASA TESS Twitter account, as well as an official website that the space agency has maintained since the development and construction stages of the telescope.

TESS will focus on stars between 30 and 300 light-years away and 30 to 100 times brighter than Kepler's targets.