US intends to put into orbit a telescope on April 16 to search for exoplanets

File Science News
UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) – The US space agency – NASA is completing the final preparations for putting into orbit on April 16 a new telescope to search for potentially suitable for life planets.

This was announced on Wednesday at a press conference at the headquarters of NASA George Ricker, head of a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is implementing this project.

According to him, a special commission on March 15 confirmed the readiness to launch a device called Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS, a satellite to study the planets passing in front of their star). To launch from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral (Fla.) Will be used rocket carrier Falcon 9 manufactured by SpaceX. Initially, the telescope was sent to space in March this year.

“We expect that TESS will open a number of planets whose chemical composition of the atmosphere may be of interest from a biological point of view,” Riker said. As NASA spokesman Steven Reinhart pointed out, this telescope “opens the door to research on a completely different level.”

“We will be able to study individual planets and discuss the differences between them, a new era in the study of exoplanets,” he stressed.

TESS during its two-year mission will focus on the stars, located at a distance of 300 light years from Earth.

It is assumed that the telescope, equipped with four wide-angle cameras, will study more than 200 thousand stars in order to reveal on their bright background tiny spots that may turn out to be planets. In total, scientists expect to find several thousand exoplanets.

In the next 10 years, NASA plans to bring into space two more new telescopes in order to search for planetary systems that are the most comparable in terms of parameters to our solar system.

Based on information obtained with the help of the Hubble orbital observatory and other telescopes, NASA experts previously suggested that only in the Milky Way galaxy there are at least 11 billion planets comparable in size to the Earth.

Since 1995, there have been confirmed the existence of 3.5 thousand exoplanets, where life is potentially possible, and there are about four thousand “candidates”.