Skip to comments.New NASA Planet Hunter Is Launching One Week from Today
Posted on 04/10/2018 8:40:37 AM PDT by Elderberry
NASA's next exoplanet-hunting spacecraft will take to the skies one week from today (April 9), if all goes according to plan.
TESS will spot exoplanets via the "transit" method, noting the tiny brightness dips that result when a planet crosses the face of its host star from the spacecraft's perspective. This is the same strategy employed by NASA's famed Kepler space telescope, which has found about two-thirds of the 3,700 known exoplanets to date.
But Kepler's finds are mostly faraway worlds at least several hundred light-years from Earth. TESS will aim to find planets close enough to be investigated in depth by other instruments especially NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, the $8.8 billion behemoth scheduled to launch in 2020.
TESS will do its work from a unique vantage point: a highly elliptical orbit that no other spacecraft has ever occupied, mission officials have said. After launch, TESS will gradually expand its orbit until it flies close enough to the moon to receive a gravitational assist, according to a new NASA video.
"This slingshot will move it into a stable orbit that is tipped at about 40 degrees from the moon's orbital plane," the video's narrator explains.
TESS will end up zipping around our planet once every 13.7 days.
"TESS orbits Earth in exactly half the time it takes the moon to orbit once," the narrator says. "This feature helps stabilize the spacecraft's orbit against tugs from the moon's gravity."
TESS will spend at least two years in this orbit. The farthest point, or apogee, will be 232,000 miles (373,000 kilometers) from Earth, allowing the spacecraft to survey part of the sky without interference from the moon or our planet. The closest point in the orbit, or perigee, will be 67,000 miles (108,000 km),
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
I believe the proper phrase would be:
Here, I will give your FRiends the photo as it should be presented:
un - manned of course.
Wasn’t something like this on STARTREK?
Yes, that’s the planet killer from Star Trek..
It’s a small leap from planet hunter to planet killer.
Another boondoggle to waste our money.
The stupidity just never stops at NASA.
What flavor is that thing?
Blue Raspberry Licorice with a Hot Tamales Licorice Bites interior. Antacids not provided.
Since when is a mission that has a high likelihood of finding other terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of their host stars a “boondogggle?”
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