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The TESS space telescope has discovered more than 2,000 planets

The TESS space telescope has done a good job: it has hung over 2,200 potential planets on its hunting board since the start of its mission. Several of them are Earth-like planets, it remains to be seen whether they can harbor life.

Credit: NASA

Since its launch in 2018, the TESS space telescope (for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has not been idle. He has collected evidence of the existence of more than 2,200 planets, including hundreds of “small” planets, many of which are telluric, ie composed mainly of rocks and metal, like the Earth.

A busy telescope

It is now the turn of scientists to confirm these discoveries and unearth exoplanets, these planets that orbit around a star. It will be up to the telescopes which will succeed TESS to determine the presence of water, oxygen and other “bricks” necessary for life on these exoplanets. A lot of work in perspective therefore, thanks to the excellent work of TESS.

The satellite’s mission is now to “plug” the holes in the spatial map it has explored over the past two years. To achieve this, TESS will monitor the “shadows” generated by exoplanets passing in front of their stars. This meticulous research is made possible by the telescope’s extremely sensitive sensors.

TESS has already tracked down some remarkable exoplanets, like TOI-700 d which is the size of the Earth and which happens to be in the “habitable zone” of its star. This planet is about a hundred light years away, a distance close by astronomical standards. Or YOU 849 b, a gas giant whose mass is 40 times that of Earth, but only three times that of Earth. It has lost its atmosphere, or it never had.

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