18.04.16 Tess Star Gazing

April 17, 2018


She’s 5 ft tall…
4 ft wide…
weighs about 800 lbs.

And ifA extraterrestrial life exists? She’s going to help us find it.

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Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

(Lost you at “Exo”? Us too)

TESS is a NASA spacecraft, roughly the size of a flying refrigerator, expected to launch this week on a crucial 2 year mission to quite literally scan the universe for stars.

flip: why this matters


  • TESS will fly a 2 yr mission
  • Goal: Scan 500,000 stars, incl 500 “earth-like” planets.
  • Think of it like taking a “census” of the universe.
  • Why? Current telescopes can’t examine certain planets (they’re too far away); by charting stars & planet movements, TESS will help NASA decide where to prioritize further focus & exploration.
‘By looking at such a large section of the sky, this kind of stellar real estate, we open up the ability to cherry-pick the best stars for doing follow-up science.”

Researcher Jenn Burt, MIT, part of a collaborative TESS team. TESS missed the initial launch date of April 16 due to an issue with the Space X rocket it was hitching a ride on – will try again April 18th, 2018

When it comes to “ET”, do we even know what to look for? A new study says “No” – Check it out:

by Jenna Lee,