TESS will spend two years scanning almost the entire sky - a field of view that can encompass more than 20 million stars.
The video is the result of over half a decade of high-resolution imagery gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched back in 2009.
The assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) stage of creating NASA's next Mars rover has officially begun, ensuring that the spacecraft is on schedule for its launch just two years from now. The first year of observations will map the 13 sectors encompassing the southern sky, and the second year will map the 13 sectors of the northern sky. Powerful telescopes such as NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope can also further study these exoplanets in order to search for important characteristics, like the atmospheric composition and whether or not they could support life.
The satellite, developed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, aims to discover thousands of nearby exoplanets, including at least 50 Earth-sized ones. It is not more than a size of a refrigerator and has four wide-field cameras will give a field-of-view that covers 85 percent of our entire sky. Within this vast visual perspective, the sky has been divided into 26 sectors that Tess will observe one by one.
"TESS is kind of like a scout", said Natalia Guerrero, deputy manager of TESS Objects of Interest, an MIT-led effort that will catalogue objects captured in TESS data that may be potential exoplanets. "It's like we're making a treasure map", Guerrero said.
By combining global data from NASA satellites with the ship, aircraft, and autonomous assets such as floats, along with laboratory research and balloon data, scientists are able to not only understand the current state of the atmosphere, but also how it is evolving over time.
Then, there will be a 60-day commissioning phase, as engineers at NASA and MIT calibrate the instruments and monitor the satellite's trajectory and performance.
"Previous experiments with sea urchin and bull sperm suggest that activating movement happens more quickly in microgravity", NASA officials wrote, "while the steps leading up to fusion happen more slowly, or not at all".