Since one year, the newest spacecraft from NASA is functioning. It has already identified 24 exo-planets. The first yearly science meet for this mission was organized this week. Since one year this spacecraft has been gathering data from the earth’s orbit. The mission is named as Transiting Exoplanet Survey satellite (TESS).
George Ricker, who is the head researcher of the TESS program, provided an update of the mission to the audience. The meet was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The spacecraft was initially launched in April 2018. Now the prime focus of this mission will be to capture data from the Northern Hemisphere.
The planet haul of this spacecraft is updated quite often. As per the Exoplanet Archive from NASA, under the TESS program already 24 exo-planets and 993 alien worlds have been detected. The spacecraft helped in collecting high amount of data which was further analyzed to get useful insights regarding the exo-planet transits. The spacecraft collected the data by observing the bright telltale dips which is formed when the exo-planets cross their respective hot stars.
Ricker informed at the conference that the results have been more successful than what was expected. He informed to be selected by NASA they intended just to make 2 minutes cadence. This refers to intervals in observation of pre-selected stars. Besides this, the spacecraft has also been able to observe other wonderful phenomena like supernova and shredding of a star by black hole. Some of the discovered exo-planets are habitable. The next step of the research is to check out the atmosphere of these planets. It will be done by the James Webb Space Telescope. This instrument is supposed to be installed by NASA in 2021; the telescope costs around $8.9 billion.
Ricker hopes that in the 2nd year of TESS mission it will help to understand the composition and evolution of the exo-planets.