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Cosmic search: NASA launched into space the hunter of exoplanets

New telescope for $340 million will detect 10 times more planets outside the Solar system than we know today. Probably many of them exist in conditions that allow life to emerge

Rocket company, Space X, Falcon 9 on April 18 orbiting space telescope TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission), a new hunter of exoplanets. It will replace the spacecraft Kepler, which is about to end.

More new worlds

Originally the launch was planned for April 16, but he was moved — Space X has decided to conduct additional analysis of the systems of the rocket. NASA said the telescope “in great shape” and ready to launch — after the mission and the expectations placed on the staff have a truly cosmic scale.

Search of life beyond Earth is always linked with the study of celestial bodies with the right conditions. The new device searches for planets outside the Solar system — exoplanets. Over the past 10 years, the humanity found and confirmed the existence of about 2000 exoplanets, most of which were open due to predecessor TESS — the Kepler telescope.

Cosmic search: NASA launched into space the hunter of exoplanets

The new Observatory aims to study the relatively close stars and the search for orbiting planets. So, TESS can to study the sun, located 10 times closer, and therefore glow 100 times brighter than they were capable of after they retire from “Kepler”. In addition, the new device will be explore almost all the surrounding area (85%), and not just part of it.

The TESS mission is designed for at least two years, during which it is planned to study 200 000 stars located within 300 light years from the Sun. The total number of open exoplanets apparatus can cross 20 000.

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As conceived by scientists, the most “interesting” of exoplanets detected by the apparatus will be further investigated infrared space telescope “James Webb“promising “unfinished space” which cost NASA is already at least $9 billion conclusion “Webb” into orbit again moved, on 2020й year.

— We can study individual planets and start to tell the differences between them. Objects found TESS, will be the basis of research for many years to come. It will be a new era in the study of exoplanets — noted scientist Stephen Reinhart working on the project.

The present and the future

The start of the project TESS is very useful not only from a scientific but also a financial point of view, because the conclusion “hunter of exoplanets” fits into the logic of the NASA budget.

U.S. President Donald trump America’s approach to space projects is undergoing a number of changes. In particular, the new The Directive on space policy guess the reorientation activities of NASA for the exploration of the moon and celestial bodies in the Solar system.

Hard to say, there is a trump based on the interests of self-promotion (the next US election will be held in 2020, and have in the Treasury a couple of “outer success” will not prevent), or for the love of science. Suffice it to recall how loud the event was detection from the seven exoplanets in the system of TRAPPIST-1 to evaluate the possible display scale of similar discoveries in the future.

However, at the moment it plays into the hands of TESS and NASA in General. Most revealing in this case is an example of financing of all departments — budget NASA for the 2018 financial year, boasts $20,736 billion, $1.6 billion more than requested initially.

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Tellingly, the needs of the planetary community has been allocated just $302 million more, which shows the interest of the US authorities not only to projects of the type of launch vehicle the SLS or the Orion spacecraft.

Future success and the opening of TESS (which, incidentally, was spent $337 million) will raise the popularity of the missions to search for and study new worlds. Consequently, such projects will be given more attention and policy makers in determining which project to invest — not what a private company will be engaged in purely scientific activity for its own account. This role will have to take States.

TESS can identify future research projects. In the milky Way galaxy (there we live) there may be about a trillion exoplanets. Finding 20,000 of them, TESS will cover the issue only a tiny fraction of that number. On the one hand for future missions will always find work. But if we can find planets with a good location in their star system, the individual studies will aim to clarify — not born to them whether life can be if there are any alien intelligence.

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