TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation.
The first order of business for TESS it to scan a patch of sky in the southern hemisphere covering 2,300 degrees from the south ecliptic pole to near the ecliptic plane.
TESS will be looking at each observation sector for at least a period of 27 days, and then it will rotate on to the next sector.
The space agency launched its TESS satellite on April 16, with an aim of replacing the aging Kepler space telescope. The first data that it collects will be transmitted straight back to Earth when August rolls around and will continue every 13.5 days afterward.
TESS is the first space-based, all-sky surveyor to search for alien worlds.
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Artist's illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. NASA hopes TESS will be able to track down more super-Earth planets with its powerful array of cameras.
"I'm thrilled that our planet hunter is ready to start combing the backyard of our solar system for new worlds", Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics division, said in the statement. Over the course of the next two years, this important satellite will be closely observing several hundred thousand bright stars to learn whether their light dips from time to time, which is something that could indicate the presence of a planet moving in front of its parent star, a process referred to as transits.
"With possibly more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the unusual, fantastic worlds we're bound to discover", said Hertz.
The TESS NASA mission is led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is being managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The mission should come relatively cheaply, according to Space.com -the TESS satellite's cost is capped at $200 million, while the Kepler telescope it replacedcost about $600 million. During that survey, it will focus on the 200,000 brightest stars in the sky - which means the project should identify planets around numerous stars that skywatchers know and love.