What does the CUTE satellite mean, and how will it discover planets in space?

A $4 million satellite is headed into space later this month to look at the physics of distant exoplanets including the hottest ever. The spacecraft is known as the Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE), which is a CubeSat that will conduct a seven-month mission to look at these planets.

It is also the first CubeSat mission funded by NASA to look at exoplanets and see what this technology can do.

Kevin France, principal investigator at the University of Colorado's Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) said, it's an experiment that NASA is running to see how much science can be done with a small satellite.

The satellite will head into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket along with the Landsat 9 satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lombok, California on September 27.

According to NASA, the planets to be explored are gas giants that orbit their stars in close proximity. One example of this is KELT-9b, which was discovered in June 2017, which has a temperature of 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit and takes just a day and a half to orbit. a star.

KELT-9b was named after the KELT-9b Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) system that was first used to detect the planet in 2017, and upon its discovery, KELT-9b was considered the hottest planet ever, breaking the record by more than 1,100 degrees Celsius.

CUTE will be able to measure how fast gases are escaping from at least 10 different hot planets, including KELT-9b, thanks to the telescope's rectangular design.

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