NASA has announced that it is launching a mission to hunt for new planets. Under NASA’s Astrophysics Explorer program, the planet hunting mission is expected to be launched in 2017. The agency will be making use of TESS or Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to conduct an all sky transit survey. The satellite allows them to cover 400 times as much sky as any previous mission. It is capable of identifying thousands of new planets in the solar neighborhood and will have a special focus on planets are comparable in size to Earth. TESS is backed by MIT and Google. A small grant fund for the development of wide-field digital cameras that TESS uses was provided by Google.
TESS will scan the skies for exoplanets that are orbiting nearby bright stars. It will use techniques similar to the ones Kepler telescope used. Kepler has identified over 2,700 exoplanets up till now, the scope of this new satellite is going to be even larger. As previously mentioned, the main focus is to find new planets that are similar to our world, in a bid to find signs of living organisms elsewhere in the universe.
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