How many more have to discover exoplanets below to find the one we need: the sun, similar to ours, at the same distance from him, so it was not too cold and not too hot? It seems that the Americans are not going to stop. And not only they one of the Kepler telescope, which searches for terrestrial planets is the 9th year and has already opened most of 3758 known scientists of exoplanets! On Thursday, the company SpaceX Elon musk sent into orbit of another “hunter” of planets called TESS. What is the new word in the search for habitable bodies outside our Solar system will say new device, we learned by talking with a leading researcher of the State astronomical Institute named after P. K. Sternberg by Valentin ESIPOV.
photo: a frame from the video
So, the launch of the telescope was held April 19 at 01.51 Moscow on the Falcon 9 rocket. All went well, return the first stage rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic ocean. It turns out that the Mask was able to recover is the 24th level of this type of missiles! The device the size of a washing machine (1.5 by 1.2 m) was abandoned in highly elliptical orbit with a maximum distance from the Earth to 373 thousand kilometers.
According to the creators of the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is a space telescope intended for the discovery of exoplanets by the transit method, that is, at the moment when they pass between their star and Earth. Its main goal is to find rocky exoplanets that fall within the habitable zone and remote from the Ground not more than 200-300 light-years. “Kepler”, by the way, looked further — to 3 thousand light-years, but in a narrower sector. TESS will look closer, but will cover almost all the sky, but rather, about 90 percent.
The purpose of the device created by NASA and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of technology), is already scheduled — a few hundred thousand cool stars with temperatures lower than our Sun that is less than 6 thousand degrees. Near, according to scientists, it is easier to find the desired planet in the “habitable zone”. The “habitable zone” is called the space around the star where water can remain in liquid form, not steaming because of too high temperature and not freezing due to too low.
Help “MK”: an Exoplanet is a planet outside the Solar system. The first exoplanet was discovered in the late 1980-ies. Now they’re 3758.
Any new telescope will reveal more than the former, says Valentin Esipov.
Those almost 4 thousands of exoplanets that have been found before, scientists are not satisfied?
— No. Even the most earth-like were either more Land or less, like Venus or Mars, which, as you know, life would not be very comfortable. Astronomers looking for this planet, which will be more suitable for habitation. Besides the temperature, it will be necessary to study the chemical composition of the atmosphere, which should be the oxygen for such a life as ours.
— But if there is another life, oxygen-free?
About that difficult. In the search for habitability researchers still easier to rely on something more known and understandable. But this is our world, where the light gently heats the Sun, where there is liquid water and oxygen in the atmosphere.
— The oxygen transit method defined?
— Yes, this is possible with the help of spectrographs.
— Well, suppose astronomers found the perfect one from their point of view, a planet in the belt of life. What’s next?
— Then it will be to study in more detail using large ground-based or space telescopes.
Help “MK”. The next step after TESS study may be selected exoplanets with a space telescope named James Webb, which is to be launched in 2020 instead of the space telescope “Hubble”.