NASA’s Exoplanet Hunter Is Getting Us One Step Closer To Another Earth, Here’s How
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NASA’s Exoplanet Hunter Is Getting Us One Step Closer To Another Earth, Here’s How

November 29, 2019


The results are in, my friends: 
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has identified over 850 candidate exoplanets,
or planets outside our solar system, some of which have the potential to support life.
TESS, that hardworking gal, has been on this exoplanet-hunting mission for over a year. And
not only has this satellite exceeded the wildest dreams of the many scientists who use it to
find exoplanets, but it has also gathered unprecedented data on other astrophysical
phenomena, like exocomets and supernovae. TESS uses four large, specially designed cameras
that are able to scan the sky for stars outside our solar system. The cameras view overlapping
sectors of the sky for 27 days at a time, waiting to see the brightness from a star
blip in a certain way, an event called a transit. This indicates that something has passed in
front of the star, likely something that’s orbiting it…like a planet. This method is
called transit photometry, giving TESS the first part of its name.
And TESS double checks her work, too. That same object must pass by the same star,
causing the same blip, at least three times before being considered a candidate exoplanet. 
Once potential exoplanets are identified, TESS then notifies astronomers on the ground to take
a closer look with their telescopes to confirm. TESS has already helped identify at least
28 confirmed new exoplanets, with more being confirmed every day. Scientists are looking at these planets to
see if any of them could potentially host alien life, but that’s not even the only
reason we’re interested in exoplanets. Some of them are what scientists are calling
‘missing link’ planets. These are somewhere in between smaller, rocky
planets, like our Earth and larger, gaseous planets like Neptune. 
We don’t have any of these in-betweener planets in our solar system, so these ‘missing
links’ will be really exciting to study, since they’ll help us understand how these
kinds of planets form along-side rockier, more Earth-like worlds, and how these solar
systems evolve in the first place. TESS has pointed us to several solar systems
that look really promising, including three planets of particular interest that orbit
a relatively quiet star that’s relatively close to us. 
When I say ‘quiet’, I don’t mean that it’s not blasting heavy death metal, I mean
that this star doesn’t flare very often, which makes it and the planets that move around
it easier to study.  And when I say ‘close’, it is 73 light-years away, which sounds like
quite a ways, but is actually considered a close neighbor of ours! 
The star in question is a red dwarf star called ‘TESS object of interest 270’, or TOI
270 for short. It’s got at least three planets orbiting it, and those are the ones we’re
looking at closely: TOI 270 B, C, and D. They’re all varying distances from the star,
with estimated temperatures ranging from a toasty 254 degrees Celsius to a nice and cool
66 degrees. One of the larger, gassier planets is identified
as a mini-Neptune—one of these missing link planets. 
It was initially thought to be in the ‘habitable zone’ of its star, meaning it could have
liquid oceans and host life. But as scientists looked at it more closely,
they now think that TOI-270 D’s atmosphere is too thick, making the planet a greenhouse
that’s probably far too hot to host life. So that’s a bummer, but researchers still
want to probe the compositions and characteristics of the planets orbiting TOI-270. 
Plus they think there may be other planets in this system, so we’re not giving up.
TOI-270 is just one of many systems that TESS has pointed us toward. 
And while looking for star-planet systems like these, TESS was also able to observe
other exciting things outside our solar system, like exocomets
And because TESS looks at one particular patch of sky for so long, it can also observe stellar
events, like the beginnings of supernovae. Again, this means TESS can then tell ground
telescopes to take a closer look, which researchers hope will help us better understand the origins
of astronomical explosions of all different kinds. And get this—scientists can use
those observations to calculate how fast the universe is expanding.
Hopefully we’ll be able to get even closer looks at all the stuff that TESS has scouted
out for us when the James Webb Space Telescope eventually launches. 
The JWST could even take measurements of the compositions of these exciting planets and
their atmospheres, telling us even more about whether these exoplanets could support life.
Thanks for the recon mission, TESS. We can’t wait to see what else you point out for us.
If you want to see just how close we are to launching the JWST, check out this video here,
and make sure you subscribe to Seeker for all your planetary discovery news. If you
have other planet questions for us, leave them down in the comments below and as always,
thanks for watching.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Don't get me wrong on this but all this is useless until we figure out faster and safe space travel. We can't even get to the MARS yet and it's in our neighborhood.
    We've sent only 2 spacecraft out of our solar system and those were launch over 35-40 years ago (Voyagers). Even if we find something just like Earth or even better , what's the point. Radio signals will take 73 years to reach there.
    TESS is really impressive and one of my favorite spacecraft so far but there is something else we need to sort out before we go find exoplanets!

  2. Honestly i think it’s time for our world to start the space exportation. Imagine finding another earth with all the rich resources. It’s time for us to move forward to design ships that can move beyond them we have ever been before

  3. Planets are for our Survival, not the other way around.
    When the planet, runs out, we move on,
    Look at all those, used Universe's out there,
    We've come along way, from all those used Universe's
    No doubt the same will happen, to this Universe.
    There has to be Trillions upon trillions of civilizations out there.

  4. Our existence on this planet earth is introduce time, we are observer of the time, what we see is the infinite canvas of universe, so we have to start from looking around, at light speed things are not same as we see today.

  5. With all this advances in space reconnaissance.. why can't we start advancing robotics like making androids and large mechs.

  6. So much exoplanets found but still not so sure anybody's in there. Now hold on.. Im waiting for something to reveal the darkmatter, baby. ??‍?

  7. We also found that the super earth exoplanet discovered by Kepler, K2-12b, has water vapor in it's atmosphere, and it could even be in liquid form!

  8. Well , researches recently found a planet that contains water-vapor in its atmosphere. Very exciting news, especially since the planet is in the habitable zone of its star, and it has a size relative to that of the Earth.

  9. Imagine humans are capable to live on another planet and people are fighting over who would be the owner of the planet. Even if civilization advances on other planet, they would fight over land. Lul

  10. Maybe someday in the future scientists will realize what a great mistake they made in assuming that planets outside the habitable zone are bad candidates for life. It may be the case that most life in the universe exists in these very extreme conditions that we think can't sustain life. Life is more likely to develop in extreme conditions because extreme conditions are more prevalent. When examining conditions suitable for life, our earth conditions that we label as "habitable zone" might be the exception rather than the rule.

  11. The Pentagon has officially released 3 UFO videos captured by the US Navy FA18 pilots. The UFOs defied the laws of physics said the pilots. US Senators are now being briefed about UFOs by Pentagon officials according to CNN.

  12. This is the soft 'Disclosure' as there needs to be an intro-induction of information… so later on peeps won't get too freaked out when the full Disclosure is finalized for the historical event… other nations already is more open about being visited; UFOs are real and do see why they need the US to make it happen?!?
    US astronauts knows the truth as some of them have given interviews while Buzz only gives hints?

  13. I wish someone in near future tricks all these religious fantastic minded God lovers and convince them to board in a shuttles and send them to one of these exoplanet. And I really don't care if they reach there or not. As long as they are out of my blue ball I am happy.

  14. The real results: Britain isn't free, and the shills are overactive. You know the strategy of overwhelming your opponents, in this case the flat Earth. Secret societies run science and control you from day one. Whatever you do stay in their greedy hands, it can be lonely out here in reallity.

  15. We sure as shit better send a colony of kind hearted humans with zero political or religious beliefs to carry on the species. If not we already know how this story ends.

  16. Nice positive spin. Before TESS was launched it was expected to find Exoplanets by the thousands. That hasn’t quite happened. Nevertheless it’s a fairly inexpensive mission. Any mission created to find exoplanets is a good mission IMHO.

    On a completely different note, we are much better off sending unmanned missions to Europa, Enceladus and Titan than sending a manned mission to Mars.

  17. Until we get the resolution to observe Earth sized planets or smaller all present day speculation about what is out there is pointless. Resembles the endless jibber jabber put out by news providers at the outset of a catastrophic event. Just a lot of blind, ineffectual wheel spinning.

  18. Those Planets Could've Been Destroyed When The Photons Gets Reflected Back Into Our "Vision" — TESS, After Millions Or Billions Of Years Of Travelling Through The Vast Universe.
    ;)) But Hey, I Do Have Hope That The Majority Of Them Is Still Out There, Waiting For Us To Discover Their Wondrous Existence. <3

  19. Anyone just think of the newer BSG lore and how it may come true with the “missing link” planets or is that just me? Yeah okay, I’ll see myself out.

  20. If we find a particularly promising candidate, we can think about pursuing a gravitational lens telescope positioned to observe it.

  21. Unfortunately the majority of stars are red dwarfs. Which makes it more likely than not that any planet in the habitable zone will be tidally locked. I would hope scientists would be looking at K-G and even F type stars. Since these stars put out more energy the habitable zone gets pushed out.

  22. There are a lot of places on earth “capable
    of supporting life” that either (A) won’t support HUMAN life or
    (B) would be a sucky life to survive in.

    I am all about exploration because it always leads to benefits here on earth, if only in something like new mattress materials. (Shout out to tempurpedic).

    But at the moment the 7billion+ human brain processor meeds to focus its collective creative and computing power on fixing the planet that gave us life so that it can sustain us for the next few hundred years which is what it would take to terraform a place like Marrs or any other EXO planet, and that’s on the extremely generous time scale. Basically space exploration is awesome but at the rate we’re going right now we will either make ourselves extinct before we can ever colonized another planet or we will send ourselves back to the Stone Age is or maybe even, luckily, the bronze age or the tragic dark ages before we Ever leave this planet for good.

    Also, this is a pretty damn good planet and even if there was another one just a single light year away it would still be easier to fix the one that gave us life then to manipulate an entirely new one to sustain us.

    Our shortsightedness and greed will be why not much more than what we have at present will end up being the peak of humanity.

    I am all for the dolphin or elephant overlords that will come after us. There needs to be a matriarchal lead to society if it will have any hope of positive and prolonged and sustained progress that does not come at the expense of other fellow humans or habitats, our own or other animals.

    Women get blamed so often for being “emotional“. Yet as leaders we know how to separate our personal emotionsFrom what is needed for the greater good. Something men have shown time and time again to fail at. Choosing vengeance and the desire to settle old scores over what is best for even their own people let alone all of the people living in sharing this planet.

    A few sympathetic tears from a woman is far more preferable than the irrational responses of men who can only see blinding rage, vengeance and destruction. Men rule by emotion much more than women, but they are emotions that men have deemed to be acceptable. It’s all a load of bullshit.

  23. Please don't use the "here's how/why/what" phrase so much. It gets old really quick.
    Aside from that, top quality content, keep it up

  24. If do You ant the Cosmic Optimism… – Last review here (for the astronomers something)..https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Telepathy/conversations/messages

  25. Why dont they search for the planets in the Zeta Reticuli star system. Many will laugh because of the stigma surrounding that star system. Fools will laugh but the wise will understand.

  26. I am not sure if you are mixing up C and F but 66 is not “nice and cool” in C. It’s catastrophic. For reference, human body temperature is 37 C. Highest recorded on Earth is 57.8 C. Water boils at around 100 C. Chicken is cooked at 75 C.

  27. May I ask yous a question ? If the Sun is made up of mostly Hydrogen and Helium. ( elements 1 and 2 ) . Jupiter is made of mostly Hydrogen and Helium, ( both with various other elements ) If Jupiter was bigger, would it be a star ? Is size the difference between a Gas Giant and a Star ? I think that with things just,,, becoming what they are. If Jupiter; and the other gas giants had more mass and or gravity they would be stars. Am I on the right track ?

  28. Im a car guy so i dont really know about science stuff however i really appreciate yall science people also i got interested for science stuff cuz of sheldon ffrom big bang theory

  29. Нам. Изучать планет. Надо изучать. Как человек. Как солнечный. система. Вселенная раждался. Реальность. Кадры. реальное фото Марса Луны люди. знали. Земляни. Давно. Должны были на Марсе 2002 года.

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