TESS Guest Investigator Program Office

GI Program Overview

The TESS Guest Investigator Program will support the Astronomical Community in carrying out a wide range of scientific investigations using TESS data. The GI Program will:

  • Solicit proposals for new investigations using
    • 2-minute cadence data on ~10K GI science targets per Cycle
    • 30-minute cadence full-frame image data
  • Start concurrently with the beginning of TESS Science Operations
  • Operate for the duration of the primary mission

TESS data have no proprietary period.

Total funds available to PI's at US institutions: ~$2.5M per Cycle.

Cycle 1 Schedule

The TESS Cycle 1 Schedule is tied to the Launch date (=L)

  • Call for Proposals Released: ~L-9 months
  • Phase 1 Proposals Due: ~L-6 months
  • Peer Review: ~L-4 months
  • Cycle 1 Results Announced: ~L-2 months
  • TESS Observation Segment 1 Begins: L+60 day

Mission Overview

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA Explorer mission that will monitor several hundred thousand Sun-like and smaller stars for transiting planets (Ricker et al. 2015), concentrating on the brightest dwarf stars for which follow-up measurements can yield planet masses and atmospheres. After launch (no later than June 2018), TESS will spend two years observing nearly the entire sky using four wide- eld cameras, with the objective of photometrically detect- ing transits of planets smaller than Neptune around nearby FGKM stars. Compared to Kepler, TESS targets will generally be brighter by ~3 magnitudes, and be discovered over a ~400 × larger solid angle. The instrument's high-precision photometry capability is also suf cient for asteroseismology research and other variability analyses of both Galactic and extragalactic astrophysical sources. TESS will monitor ~200K stars with 2-minute cadence, and simultaneously collect full-frame images of the TESS FOV every 30-minutes. TESS will provide photometric precision of 200 ppm in 1 hour on an I=10 star, with systematic noise sources <60 ppm/hr.

The portions of the sky that TESS will observe most extensively coincide with the zones of longest continuous visibility with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) for follow-up studies of planetary atmospheres. Those zones are centered on the ecliptic poles. TESS will survey the sky in a series of thirteen observing segments, each 27-days long. It will spend the first year on one ecliptic hemisphere, then rotate to spend the second year on the opposite hemisphere. Depending on sky position, TESS targets will be observed for a minimum of 27 days up to a maximum of 351 days.

GI Proposal Preparation

  • TESS GI Program Website will contain detailed information about the GI program, including how to propose, and tools to help plan proposals and generate target lists.
  • The call for proposals will be released as part of the upcoming NASA ROSES Grant Solicitation
  • TESS will use a 2-Phase proposal process, in which science proposals and target lists will be submitted via the Remote Proposal System (RPS)
  • Successful PI's will be invited to submit budgets through NSPIRES

News & Events

13 Oct 2016

TESS GI Program at the AAS Division of Astrophysics Meeting

Come find us and chat about TESS Guest Investigator Opportunities at the AAS DPS Meeting in Pasadena, CA October 16-20. We will be sharing an information booth with Kepler and K2 and would be happy to discuss GI proposal ideas with you. Meanwhile, see our flyer with an overview of the TESS GI Program and look for the Call for Proposals about 9 months before we launch!

05 Oct 2016

NASA's TESS Mission Will Provide Exciting Exoplanet Targets for Years to Come

NASA's search for planets outside of our solar system has mostly involved very distant, faint stars. NASA's upcoming Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), by contrast, will look at the brightest stars in our solar neighborhood.
+ Read the article

27 Jul 2016

NASA's Next Planet Hunter Will Look Closer to Home

As the search for life on distant planets heats up, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is bringing this hunt closer to home. Launching in 2017-2018, TESS will identify planets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system using what's known as the transit method.
+ Read the article

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