NASA has a mission coming up called TESS, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The plan is to survey the earth’s orbit, monitoring about 200,000 stars for exoplanets. The estimated sizes of the planets range from the same as the earth to at least 4 times.
The mission will launch by April 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, via a Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX. This spacecraft will be sent to a special higher orbit point of the earth to perform observations with minimal interference from the atmosphere.
MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be leading the mission. It gave out the statement: “TESS anticipates the discovery of thousands of exoplanets of all sizes around a variety of star types.” There will be a network of ground telescopes verifying the observations.
According to NASA TESS principal investigator George Ricker, they will release public data every four months and will invite community-wide efforts for further cooperation of study and research of the same.
The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting planets, which will endure as highly favorable targets for detailed investigations. – George Ricker, TESS principal investigator in 2015
The mission was selected in 2013 as the one under the Explorer Program of NASA, consisting of a large craft for about $200 million. Stay tuned for the next update on this progressive venture of our earth.