Last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS has successfully completed its primary mission and is set to do an extended stay in space.
TESS’ primary mission was to conduct imaging activities of about a quarter of the starry sky during its two years in space. During this mission, the craft was able to discover more than 60 new exoplanets as well as almost 2,100 candidates that astronomers are currently working on.
In a NASA press release, TESS’ project scientist Patricia Boyd, declared the mission as a success. She added that the craft was able to collect such valuable troves of data which are deemed valuable in their respective fields of studies.
Now gearing up for its extended stay in space, the craft will now venture to the south. Compared to the earlier mission plan, TESS would take much faster in taking snapshots of the heavenly bodies that it sees – thrice faster compared to the primary mission. It will also introduce a new ‘fast mode’ to make it easier for the craft to take clearer pictures of fast-paced celestial events. This will all take place until the planned end of the extended mission in September 2022.
After that, the craft will conduct another mission for more than one year to do additional observations in the north and the ecliptic area. The ecliptic area is between our planet’s orbit and the Sun.
During its successful primary mission, TESS was able to discover a planet just like ours known as the TOI 700 d and a bunch of others. It also has seen countless exploding stars and even documented a black hole in shred a star like our Sun in a far-off galaxy.
TESS is a mission led and operated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a part of the NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission. The Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland manages the project.