KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: Dr. George Ricker from Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosted a media day today for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The principal investigator explained TESS’s role between the Kepler Space Telescope (Kepler) and the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb).
Dr. Ricker explains that each of TESS’s four cameras will have four of these 20″ CCD detectors. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Jelen / We Report Space
TESS will be launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in April. The satellite is designed to look for exoplanets that might be suitable for life. While Kepler looked at one small area of the sky, TESS is designed to look in all directions. After launch, TESS will use a lunar assist and three burns to position itself in a 14-day orbit around the Earth. The orbit will bring TESS close to Earth but then out beyond the orbit of the Moon and back.
Trying to Detect a Planet Transiting in Front of a Distant Star
Backyard astronomers might have tried to capture a few frames of the planet Mercury passing in front of the sun. TESS is trying to do the same ...