TESS – NASA mission to find earth-sized planets in ‘nearby’ space

phys.org is one of my favorite sites on the web, and I highly recommend it for those who wish to keep up with the increasingly fast-paced advance of science. They bring us a new article on NASA’s TESS exo-planet survey mission, set to launch in 2017.

TESS will use the time-tested method of detecting the change in brightness of a star as a planet crosses between the star’s surface and our line of sight.

nasamissiont“As a planet crosses between its star and Earth, the light from its sun “dips” in brightness. These dips allow scientists to detect the planet, learning about its size and orbit. Credit: NASA”

Set to launch in 2017, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will monitor more than half a million stars over its two-year mission, with a focus on the smallest, brightest stellar objects.
During its observations, TESS is expected to find more than 3,000 new planets outside of our solar system, most of which will be possible for ground-based telescopes to observe.