Gaia of TESS? Who will it be?
Although Gaia’s main mission isn’t to find exo-planets, the 3D imaging of billions of stars will have the side affect of finding exo-planets…a lot of exo-planets.
But the contender, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft’s main mission is to the entire sky for exo-planets.
The mission is set to be the first all-sky survey over a two year period to search both hemispheres of the sky for nearby exo-planets.
During its first two years, TESS will observe several hundred thousand specially chosen stars looking light curves indicating an exo-planet candidate. During the third year of the mission, ground-based observatories will continue monitoring the exo-planets found by TESS to confirm the exo-planets existence.
TESS is expected to find more than 5,000 exoplanet candidates, including 50 Earth-sized planets.
TESS is one of a series of missions designed to search for life on other planets.
In addition to ground based observatories, the candidates will be observed by the James Webb telescope once it is launched.
TESS is a follow-up to the Kepler mission, which searched for exo-planets in a fixed area of the sky. Because the TESS mission surveys the entire sky, TESS is expected to find exoplanets much closer to Earth, making them easier for further study.
Someday soon, ET may actually be found.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.