The Daughter of Kepler

TESS will do her father proud.

Kepler, the scientist, was awesome. However I don’t know if he had any children. Kepler…the spacecraft…is/was a spacecraft that was built to discover alien planets. It’s unblinking eye stared at a particular area of the sky continually, watching for the tell-tale wink of faraway planets passing between us and their parent stars. In spite of several technical difficulties it helped to discover roughly 3,758 planets in orbit around 2,808 different stars.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft will do the same thing, using lessons learned from Kepler on how to best conduct these studies, but in an area or sky 400 times larger and target specific stellar types particularly close to Earth.

TESS will also be better able to detect Earth-sized planets. Most of the worlds that Kepler found are much larger.

Once a list is made, then several current and future observatories (including the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope) will focus on these areas.

They’ve put TESS on the schedule to launch on April 16th, 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9. It will fly to a somewhat challenging 2:1 Moon synchronous orbit where, if they insert it correctly, it should be stable for several decades.

Click here (NASA TV) at 11 am Eastern today (Sunday April 15th) for further details.





~ by Bill Housley on April 14, 2018.

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