The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launching Monday night, will revolutionize the field of exoplanet detection, says Ty Robinson, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University who has spent his career studying exoplanets. He studies atmospheres of planets both inside and outside the solar system and is actively engaged in designing space telescopes capable of detecting signs of life from exoplanets orbiting our nearest stellar neighbors.
Prior to coming to NAU, he made an appearance in NASA’s commemorative comic book “Astrobiology: The Story of our Search for Life in the Universe” (page 27), discussing what a planet’s atmosphere indicates about the possibility of life there.
“By surveying half a million stars, watching to see if any of them dim ever so slightly when a planet passes in front of them, TESS is expected to discover thousands of new exoplanets,” Robinson said. “Excitingly, some of these worlds will be Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby cool red dwarf stars—the types of rocky planets that are best suited to atmospheric characterization with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.”
Contact: Ty Robinson, assistant professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, (928) 523-0350 or firstname.lastname@example.org