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Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission mind map
Recent News
Super-Earth in habitable zone
Earth-sized planet with 'Lava Hemisphere'
Synchronized dance of a 6-planet system
Large, gaseous planet in unexpected orbit
Over 5,500 exoplanets discovered
Water vapor in WASP-18 b's atmosphere
Planets observed by Kepler in final days
Rocky, Earth-sized planet with two-day orbit
When
Launched in April 2018
Five-year anniversary in April 2023
Second extended mission began September 2022
5,000 exoplanet candidates milestone December 2021
Why
To identify transiting exoplanets
Focus on bright, nearby stars
Study G- and K-type stars
Enhance understanding of exoplanets
What
All-sky survey
Targets approximately 200,000 stars
Special focus on 1,000 closest red dwarfs
Predicts thousands of new exoplanets
Expects to find rocky planets in habitable zones
Instruments
Four wide-angle telescopes
CCD detectors, 192 megapixels total
Data
Monthly data transmission
Public availability
Where
Space-based observatory
Observes stars in Milky Way
Who
Led by MIT and Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Principal Investigator: Dr. G. Ricker
Collaborators: MIT, Orbital, NASA Goddard, NASA Ames
International TESS Science Team
How
Monitors stars for brightness drops
27-day continuous observation per sector
Overlapping sectors for extended coverage
Uses full-frame images for sky survey
Significance
Enhanced understanding of exoplanets
Large dataset for future research
Identifies planets of all sizes
Contributions to astronomy and astrophysics
Challenges
Challenges in data analysis
Limitations in detecting very small or distant planets
Way Forward
Ongoing data analysis and research
Collaboration with other missions like JWST
Public engagement in exoplanet discovery

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission, an initiative led by NASA in collaboration with MIT and other organizations, is focused on discovering new exoplanets. Launched in April 2018, TESS employs an all-sky survey method, targeting approximately 200,000 bright, nearby stars, including 1,000 closest red dwarfs. The mission aims to find transiting exoplanets around these stars, focusing particularly on G- and K-type stars. Using four wide-angle telescopes and CCD detectors, TESS monitors these stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Over its course, TESS has made significant discoveries, including over 5,500 exoplanets, some in habitable zones, and others exhibiting unique characteristics like ‘Lava Hemispheres’. The mission has also celebrated milestones like its fifth anniversary and the commencement of its second extended mission. TESS’s contributions are vital in understanding the diversity and nature of exoplanetary systems, enhancing our knowledge of the universe.

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