Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA Explorer mission launching in 2018 to study exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. TESS will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. It will monitor more than 200,000 stars, looking for temporary dips in brightness caused by planets transiting across these stars. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify a wide range of planets, from Earth-sized to gas giants. The mission will find exoplanet candidates for follow-up observation from missions like the James Webb Space Telescope, which will determine whether these candidates could support life.

For more information, please visit the TESS website.

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  • TESS Spacecraft Animations
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.
  • TESS Artist Concept Images
    Artist concept images of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
  • TESS Beauty Pass Animation
    Beauty pass of the TESS satellite.


  • TESS Mission Trailer
    This video introduces the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). This is a joint mission between NASA and MIT that will scan the entire sky searching for exoplanets, or planets outside our Solar System. Using four state-of-the-art cameras, TESS will monitor over 500,000 stars, looking for changes in their brightness that signal a planet crossing over. The stars TESS looks at will be 30-100 times brighter than those observed by the Kepler satellite, making follow-up observations much easier. Using TESS data, missions like the James Webb Space Telescope can determine specific characteristics of these planets, including whether they could support life. TESS is scheduled to launch in 2017.
  • TESS Fly Your Exoplanet
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is taking your art to space! Draw a picture of an exoplanet, or planet orbiting another star, that you think TESS could find. It could fly on the TESS spacecraft, launching in 2018! Download the form at and send us your drawing today! Deadline for submissions is November 20, 2017.
  • TESS Undergoes Integration and Testing
    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life. The mission will find exoplanets that periodically block part of the light from their host stars, events called transits. TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets. The mission is scheduled to launch March 20, 2018, and no later than June 2018.


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