How are TESS and the JWST different?

What are the key differences between two of NASA’s yet-to-be-launched missions?

NASA's TESS is mainly focused of finding extrasolar planets

NASA’s TESS is mainly focused of finding extrasolar planets

Asked by Ben Cope

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) concerns itself with finding extrasolar planets and unexpected events such as gamma-ray bursts while the same space agency’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has more tricks up its sleeve, searching for light from the first stars and galaxies, delving into the formation and evolution of these objects as well as their planetary systems and the origins of life.

The JWST must carry out its observations in the near-infrared light due to a combination of dust obscurations and incredibly low temperatures – dipping as low as -173 degrees Celsius (-279 degrees Fahrenheit). TESS, on the other hand, is able to see in the visible light, in its hunt for exoplanets passing across, or transiting, their Sun-like or red dwarf stars.

Answered by Gemma Lavender, Staff Writer for All About Space

Image courtesy of MIT

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