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Successful Launch for TESS!

By Dr. Lisa Will, Fleet Science Center's Resident Astronomer

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, TESS—or “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite” launched into orbit. What does that mean? Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars, not our sun. A transiting exoplanet occasionally blocks the light from its star, yielding information about the exoplanet that is difficult to obtain by other observations. TESS will survey over 200,000 stars all over the sky, looking for these changes in brightness of the stars due to transits, thereby discovering exoplanets!

During its two-year mission, the primary goal of TESS is to discover small, Earth-like planets. As the planets transit in front of their bright host stars, the starlight will filter through any possible atmospheres, giving astronomers the chance to study them. Perhaps this mission will find an Earth-like planet with an atmosphere in the habitable zone of its star! It’s possible with the TESS mission.

To keep up with the latest news about TESS, go to its website or follow it on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/NASA_TESS

https://tess.gsfc.nasa.gov

Wishing you clear skies!

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