Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is going to send the most powerful telescope built by NASA in search of alien planets outside the solar system. This exoplanet-hunting telescope named Transition Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will be launched on April 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
A 230 feet tall Falcon 9 rocket is going to hurl the TESS spacecraft into the orbit. Upon a successful launch, this telescope will prowl the outer space to track down thousands of undiscovered alien planets.
The satellite is going to explore nearly 200,000 stars to look for Earth-sized planets, and maybe, discover signs of alien life on these exoplanets. It is going to be the largest survey of its kind with TESS scanning the interstellar neighborhood to answer questions like – are we alone or is there a life-supporting planet like Earth?
How can TESS help in finding alien life?
Transition Exoplanet Survey Satellite is apparently the heir to Kepler Space Telescope which was quite successful in detecting more than 2,600 exoplanets since 2009. But with Kepler’s fuel tank running very low after a long journey of nine years, it will most probably be shut down by NASA after some time.
TESS will continue the galactic hunt job left by Kepler and monitor the brightnesses of more than 200,000 stars in its two-year mission. It will be on a lookout for signs of drops in brightness of stars, indicating that a planet is transiting, or crossing in front of a star.
Depending on how much starlight is blocked, astronomers can estimate the size of the planet. This knowledge will help in finding Earth-sized planets that can sustain human life and perhaps confirm the existence of aliens too.