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Falcon 9 rocket ready for liftoff with TESS aboard.
Photo taken from TESS of a planet with dark space background.
Artist depiction of TESS flying past Earth.
Artist depection of TESS flying past sun like stars and their planets.

Photo Credit: NASA, Fact Credit: NASA,

TESS Facts:

- Launched April 18th 2018, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

- TESS stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

- TESS will survey the entire sky over the course of two years by breaking it up into 26 different sectors, each 24 degrees by 96 degrees across. TESS will also cover a sky area 400 times larger than that monitored by Kepler.

- Cameras on the spacecraft will stare at each sector for at least 27 days, looking at the brightest stars at a two-minute cadence. From Earth, the moon occupies half a degree, which is less than 1/9,000th the size of the TESS tiles.

How do we spot something as tiny and faint as a planet trillions of miles away? The trick is to look at the star! So far, most of the exoplanets – worlds beyond our solar system – we’ve found were detected by looking for tiny dips in the brightness of their host stars! These dips are caused by the planet passing between us and its star – an event called a “transit.” Our newest planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), will seek out transits around 200,000 of the nearest and brightest stars in the sky.


Music: "Drive to Succeed" From Killer Tracks Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from the Scientific Visualization Studio at:

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