Next Generation Exoplanet Hunter to Launch in 2017

NASA has selected a $200 million mission to carry out a full-sky survey for exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. The space observatory, called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is scheduled for a 2017 launch.

Like the currently operational Kepler Space Telescope, TESS will be in the lookout for exoplanets that orbit in front of their host stars, resulting in a slight dip in starlight. This dip is known as a “transit” and Kepler has revolutionized our understanding about planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy by applying this effective technique. As of January 2013, Kepler has spotted 2,740 exoplanetary candidates.

TESS will be surveying the entire sky, supercharging our profound quest to understand how many stars like our own could host worlds, not too dissimilar to Earth, in their habitable zones.

“TESS will carry out the first space-borne all-sky transit survey, covering 400 times as much sky as any previous mission,” said TESS lead scientist George Ricker, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI).

“It will identify thousands of new planets in the solar neighborhood, with a special focus on planets comparable in size to the Earth.”

“The TESS legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest main-sequence stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will forever be the most favorable targets for detailed investigations,” added Ricker.

 a NASA announcement on Friday, “The mission will utilize an array of telescopes to perform an all-sky survey to discover transiting exoplanets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, in orbit around the nearest and brightest stars in the sky. Its goal is to identify terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars.”

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Growing up the humor of Robin Williams was one of the very first I connected with. When it first came out Mrs. Doubtfire instantly became my favorite comedy and remains so to this day. Now that he’s gone I feel like a piece of my childhood has gone along with him. I’m thankful I still have those memories of rolling around on the living room rug in side-splitting laughter because of him.

Rest in peace, Captain

massteroidyung asked:

Are you just into Science or are you also interested in Theology?

I am very interested in Theology. Historically mainly. Right now I am writing about Hypatia and the Christian uprising that led to the destruction of the great Library and Museum of Alexandria, which housed rare and fantastic works from all around the known world of that time. Including Euclid: Elements (Father of Geometry) to accounts that made up the Old Testament.

artblop asked:

I'm an artist. I noticed today that I go to your blog the most. More than art blogs. Have you read Art & Physics Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light by Leonard Shlain?

Thank you! No I have not read that book. I will put it on my list though. It sounds very interesting. Art and Physics have a lot of similarities, so this book seems like a great read historically and scientifically. 



Apollo 11 EVA Training

All of the photographs from the moon are of Buzz Aldrin taken by Neil. We never got to see the two of them together on the surface of the moon besides the 16mm film of them planting the American flag. Thats why I love these so much. You can get a perspective of what it looked like. Two of the first human beings ever to set foot on the moon, performing tasks like core samples and setting up antennas.