Artist's rendering of TESS. Credit: Chet Beals. Source
Artist's rendering of NICER. Source
Exciting news! A few days ago I mentioned a project being reviewed by NASA for launch in 2016. Well, today NASA has made their decision! They chose the NICER project that I mentioned, and they also chose an MIT proposed project dubbed TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). TESS, as its name might suggest, is an orbiting device specially designed to pick out exoplanets, planets beyond our own solar system. So far we've had to deal with the problem of only being able to see relatively large planets orbiting other satellites due to our telescope power and design. TESS is specially designed to see smaller and more earth-like planets, which will give us a much better idea of what is really out there. I have a great deal of hope that we will find a habitable planet within the next decade. I'm excited.
To read more about TESS, check out this article.