Enduring Quests, Daring VIsions

NASA has recently released its ‘roadmap for astrophysics’. You can download a full .PDF version of it from NASA or from ArXiv.org. I highly recommend it! It’s quite an exciting and inspiring document, outlining the next three decades of exploration plans.


The highlight for me is the ‘near-term’ mission TESS satellite, currently scheduled for launch in the next three years. TESS will look for exoplanets around nearby stars. It is a follow up to Kepler, the satellite that has so far discovered thousands of candidate exoplanets with hundreds of confirmed planets. Kepler was pointed in a single direction at one small area of the sky for an extended period of time and its exoplanet mission is mostly over, since it is now unstable due to failure of two of its four gyroscopic stabilizers. TESS will be maneuverable and will be pointed at planned targets and will be flexible enough to investigate any targets of opportunity or special interest that come up during its lifetime.