Graphic shows how TESS will improve on its forebear Kepler, with timeline on Kepler’s achievements and mishaps.


NASA’s new planet hunter

By Ninian Carter

April 16, 2018 - June 30, 2018 - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) aims to outperform the crippled Kepler space observatory, which has found 30 potentially life-bearing exoplanets in nine years.

TESS detects tiny changes in brightness caused by transit of planets across face of stars. It’s four cameras will scan areas of space 400 times larger than that covered by Kepler.

KEPLER — Launch: Mar 7, 2009
Candidate exoplanets found: 2,245
Confirmed exoplanets found: 2,342
Confirmed exoplanets found, less than twice Earth-size and in habitable zone: 30
Jul 2012: One of four reaction wheels, used to maintain Kepler’s position, breaks down
May 2013: Second reaction wheel fails
May 2014: K2 extension born, using limited maneuverability to scan smaller red dwarfs

Candidate exoplanets found: 479
Confirmed exoplanets found: 307

PUBLISHED: 13/03/2018; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: NASA
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