NASA’s new exoplanet-hunting spacecraft named as TESS, which was launched by NASA during the last month has sent the first testing image to the earth. The main mission of the TESS is to find the alien worlds which might be present in the stars which are close to the Sun. NASA officials said that TESS has zoomed within at about 5,000 miles of the moon.
The image which was sent by the TESS spacecraft is just about a two-second exposure test. In this test, TESS has used one of the four cameras which are present in the TESS. NASA has said in a statement that they are expecting a science-quality image from the TESS which is sometime in June 2018.
The test shot which was taken by the TESS was when the spacecraft was flying past the lunar flyby on Thursday with the help of the moon’s gravity for some assistance before reaching the final working orbit. The test image is said to be a tiny section of the cosmos and TESS is planning to spy on that. When everything is in place, then the TESS will able to cover about 400 times more about the night sky which we can see from the Earth.
The design of the TESS is such that this spacecraft is long-planned “Gravity assist” spacecraft which is made by keeping an eye to reach the final science orbit which is long and looping path which is present around the Earth. According to NASA officials, they said in a statement, “This highly elliptical orbit will maximise the amount of sky the spacecraft can image, allowing it to monitor large swaths of the sky continuously.” TESS is going to perform one last engine burn which is scheduled for May 30th, 2018 to reach the orbit. The TESS will be starting to begin its two-year mission from mid-June. After it wraps up the calibration and commissioning the work with the help of four onboard cameras.
TESS, which was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18th, 2018 to search the planets outside our solar system. The spacecraft will be monitoring all nearby, bright stars which have periodic dips in the star’s brightness which are caused by a planet passing in front of the star. NASA’s new upcoming future spacecraft James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2020.