Home » Ciência » Espaço e Cosmos » Nasa intensifica busca por planetas alAi??m do sistema solar

Nasa intensifica busca por planetas alAi??m do sistema solar

AgA?ncia espacial americana planeja lanAi??ar satAi??lite ao espaAi??o em 16 de abril para uma missA?o de dois anos

A busca por planetas orbitando estrelas bem alAi??m do nossoAi??sistema solarAi??irA? se intensificar nas prA?ximas semanas com o lanAi??amento de um veAi??culo espacial daAi??NasaAi??que cientistas esperam poder aumentar o catA?logo conhecido dos chamados exoplanetas, que podem ter capacidade de suportar vida.

A Nasa planeja colocar o SatAi??lite em TrA?nsito de Pesquisa por Exoplanetas, ou Tess, na sigla em inglA?s, em A?rbita a partir do Kennedy Space Center, na FlA?rida, a bordo de um foguete SpaceX Falcon 9 marcado para lanAi??amento em 16 de abril, em uma missA?o de dois anos com custo de 337 milhAi??es de dA?lares.

O empenho astrofAi??sico mais recente da Nasa Ai?? projetado para continuar o trabalho de seu antecessor, o telescA?pio espacial Kepler, que descobriu a maior parte dos cerca de 3.500 exoplanetas documentados durante os A?ltimos 20 anos, revolucionando um dos campos mais recentes na ciA?ncia espacial.

A Nasa espera que o Tess detecte milhares de planetas anteriormente desconhecidos, talvez centenas deles com formato da Terra ou ai???super-Terraai??? ai??i?? nA?o mais que duas vezes maior que nosso planeta.

Acredita-se que tais planetas tenham as maiores chances de ter superfAi??cies rochosas ou oceanos, e sA?o entA?o considerados os candidatos mais promissores para a evoluAi??A?o da vida, ao contrA?rio de gigantes gasosos similares a JA?piter ou Netuno.

AstrA?nomos dizem que esperam ficar com cerca de 100 mais exoplanetas rochosos para estudar.

A nova sonda irA? demorar cerca de 60 dias para alcanAi??ar sua inAi??dita A?rbita elAi??ptica, que irA? girar o Tess entre a Terra e a Lua a cada duas semanas e meia.

O sistema de posicionamento do Kepler quebrou em 2013, cerca de quatro anos apA?s seu lanAi??amento. Embora cientistas tenham encontrado uma maneira de mantA?-lo operacional, o Kepler estA? quase sem combustAi??vel.

ai???EntA?o Ai?? um momento perfeito para lanAi??armos o Tess e continuarmos a grande atividade de buscar planetas ao redor de estrelas em vez do nosso sol e pensar sobre o que pode significar para a vida no universoai???, disse o diretor de astrofAi??sica da Nasa, Paul Hertz, a repA?rteres durante entrevista coletiva em Washington nesta quarta-feira.

O Tess, que tem cerca do tamanho de uma geladeira com asas de painAi??is solares, Ai?? equipado com quatro cA?meras especiais para inspecionar 200 mil estrelas que estA?o relativamente prA?ximas ao sol e assim entre as mais brilhantes no cAi??u, buscando aquelas com planetas prA?prios.

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