The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been on the quest to search for new exoplanets for many years now. Many of the discoveries made by the space agency are thanks to the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Since its launch to space, TESS has been often dubbed the "planet hunter" or "exoplanet hunter" because of its mission to find more exoplanets in the universe. The satellite has been successful so far, and now we are about to talk about its discoveries in this Tech Times article.
Before we dive deeper into the exoplanets that TESS has discovered, let us first talk about what exactly it is.
NASA's TESS was launched to space on April 18, 2018, by the Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX. According to the NASA website, the satellite is "designed to discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest dwarf stars in the sky."
Its prime mission was meant to last for two years, and it ended on July 4, 2020. TESS is currently on an extended mission.
The Worlds That NASA's TESS Could Discover
NASA's exoplanet hunter is on a mission to discover different worlds out in space. According to NASA, these are the worlds that TESS could discover:
- Gas giants are planets with low density and are similar to Jupiter and Saturn. Gas giants are composed of helium and hydrogen primarily.
- Hot Jupiters - These planets have similar masses as Jupiter and can even be larger. These planets are also said to orbit closer to their stars.
- Neptunian worlds - Exoplanets that are similar to Neptune or Uranus.
- Planets around dwarf stars - Dwarf stars are described by NASA as having "a mere fraction of the Sun's mass and luminosity but are more than 10 times as numerous."
- Super Earths - These exoplanets are bigger than our own planet but smaller than planets like Neptune. Super Earths can be made up of rocks, gas, or both.
- Terrestrial planets - Terrestrial planets are described as rocky and have cores that are rich in iron.
Exoplanets that TESS Has Discovered
As previously mentioned, TESS has been doing well in its mission and has already discovered a number of exoplanets. Some of its exoplanet discoveries have been reported here on Tech Times.
Early this year, NASA's TESS discovered a Super Earth that was eventually named TOI-561b. The exoplanet is 50% larger than Earth and three times as heavy.
One of TESS's most recent discoveries is a rocky exoplanet called GJ 367b. The exoplanet is 70% larger than our planet and has been discovered to orbit its star in just 7.7 hours, according to a report by Space.
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Written by Isabella James