As the exoplanet hunt deepens, we’re seeing how research efforts build upon each other, and how the findings of one investigation play into the planning for another. Kepler candidate planets, for example, have been confirmed using ground-based telescopes in radial velocity investigations, giving an independent check that the putative world is really there. TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) will find planets that refine the target list for the James Webb Space Telescope, with extremely large telescope technology already in the wings.
What we sometimes forget is that this collaborative effort has already built up a healthy momentum. Having maxed out Kepler (and K2 was an outstanding rehabilitation of a damaged spacecraft), the operations of TESS will focus on bright, nearby stars. The momentum of TESS and its contributions to the upcoming JWST should remind us that we then have the European Space Agency’s CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) mission queuing up for launch.