NASA's new TESS satellite, a space telescope designed to discover alien planets far outside of our solar system, is gearing up to begin its two-year mission to potentially answer the undying question: are we alone? On Friday, exactly a month after the satellite first launched into space, NASA released a preview of the first image it beamed back to Earth. It's breathtaking.
As NASA explained in a tweet, the image (shown below) is the result of a two-second exposure conducted as part of commissioning the satellite's camera equipment. While the space agency describes it as merely a "preview," the image shows a staggering 200,000+ stars centered on the southern constellation Centaurus. In the upper right corner, you'll see the edge of the Coalsack Nebula and on the lower left edge, you'll see bright star Beta Centauri. It's not the clearest photo, but damn that's a lot of stars.