Mar 28, 2019 08:16 AM EDT
NASA -- Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is designed to identify stars in the galaxy. In fact, astronomers on the project have created what they called a catalog of stars with nearly 1,822 of them found nearby the Earth. The mission is not just to identify or count the stars, but to find planets that are much like the earth, receiving an Earth-like level of starlight. This is one step closer to the crucial desire of humans to find another planet that is habitable as that of the Earth.
Does life exist in other planets that are much like the earth? What is life in these planets like? These are just some of the many questions that come into play whenever the search for new terrestrial objects is the topic. The search for habitable planets like that of the earth will always remain to be an idea worth exploring, considering how slowly the life on the planet Earth seems to wither away due to climate change.
However, the first step is always the most difficult to take. That's why scientists figured how to do it right. The method they are looking into is to identify that stars where these potential planets may exist side to side with. This is what this new starts list is all about.
"TESS can no search for new planets now that we have identified the stars that exist in the galaxy," said Lisa Kaltenegger. She is an associate professor in the Department of Astronomy of the Carl Sagan Institute of Cornell University.
With all the 1,822 stars that have been identified, it is now easier for TESS to detect small planets that may be out there. Of all those stars, it would be faster for the TESS technology to detect planets that are about 1.6 of the Earth's radii. According to the paper the group published in The Astrophysical Journal, these small planets may exist in the galaxy and they are only waiting to be discovered.
NASA launched the TESS project only about a year ago, but it was able to hunt for stars and periodically send information to the scientists back on Earth. The goal was to conduct a survey of the neighboring galactic space that may have their own set of planets much like that of the Milky Way. Much to its desire for new information, the TESS has discovered its first exoplanet.
TESS focuses on starlights that have been periodically dimmed, suggesting that it may have resulted in orbiting a planet. An important subset of such discovery is that these planets have subsets that come with exo-Earth like features that come with habitable zones.
"This is an important discovery and as TESS discovers almost the entire galaxy with literally millions of stars, it may one day find another planet that is just like the Earth," said Jessie Christiansen, a research scientist of NASA. Who knows this might open doors of opportunity for people to practice what they learn about taking care of Mother Earth.
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