NASA’s new planet-hunting spacecraft will go to space after one week from today. The spacecraft will be flown to space with the help of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The scheduled launch of the spacecraft is on April 16th, 2018. TESS will do this with the help of a “transit” method.
The transit method is done when the tiny brightness dips when a planet crosses the face if its hist star from the spacecraft’s perspective. The same strategy was employed by NASA’s famed Kepler Space Telescope, which helps in finding of two-thirds of the 3,700 known exoplanets till date.
The Kepler’s findings are mostly for the faraway worlds which are several hundred light-years from the Earth. The main aim of the TESS is to find the planets that are close enough to be investigated in depth by other instruments like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launch in 2020.
TESS will make this work done from a unique vantage point which is a highly elliptical orbit and this pint is not ever occupied by ant spacecraft. After the launch of TESS, it will gradually go towards the orbit of the moon so it will receive the gravitational assist from the moon according to a video posted by NASA. In the video, we can see that the TESS will be moving towards the stable orbit which is tipped at about 40 degrees from the moon’s orbital plane. TESS will revolve around the planet once every 13.7 days.
TESS will be spending at least two years in the space. The farthest point that will attain by TESS will be 232,000 miles from Earth, as a result, it will allow the spacecraft to survey part of the sky without any interference from the moon or earth. The closest point will be 67,000 miles and it will beam back the information back to the earth for astronomical observations.