NASA launches planet-hunting TESS spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

NASA launches planet-hunting TESS spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

NASA launches planet-hunting TESS spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

An artist's conception shows the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is of NASA and will assist to scan a location night sky, and it can scan 400 times larger than Kepler planet-hunting telescope. And it'll be blasted into orbit by SpaceX's famous, reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

Previous missions have experienced much success, with around half of the boosters landing on "drone ships" and the rest returning to dry land.

You'll want to hang on after the launch and landing to see TESS officially get sent on its way when it is deployed about 48 minutes after launch.

Soon, Kepler's mission will end, and it will be abandoned in space, orbiting the sun and never getting any closer to Earth than the moon.

The two-year, $337 million TESS mission is created to build on the work of its predecessor, the Kepler space telescope, which has discovered the bulk of some 3,700 exoplanets documented during the past 20 years and is running out of fuel.

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When is the launch and how can I watch it?

Since then, it was able to discover 2,000 exoplanets in the galaxy. Previously, Kepler surveyed the stars looking for transiting planets.

NASA predicts that TESS could find more than 50 Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of the Earth.

"Tess will find small planets, rocky planets that might have atmospheres and features that may be conducive to life", Buzasi said.

"TESS's legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will comprise the most favorable targets for detailed investigations in the coming decades", NASA notes.

The space agency says TESS will survey the entire sky over the course of two years by "breaking it up into 26 different sectors, each 24 degrees by 96 degrees across". At its farthest point, or apogee, TESS will have an unobstructed view of the sky and will move beyond interference from the Van Allen radiation belts, which encircle Earth.

"I think it's fair to say that the CCDs that TESS is flying are the most ideal CCDs that have ever been flown on any science mission, NASA or otherwise", said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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"We can measure the stars' fundamental properties".

While TESS should be great at finding planets, it doesn't have the scientific firepower to analyze them.

A new satellite, set to launch today, is expected to find thousands more planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets.

Illustration of what TESS might look like in orbit.

In the meantime, we'll keep you updated with the latest details as they come in. That's the excitement that we have about this mission. "We expect TESS will discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life, could be precisely measured by future observers".

"One of the many incredible things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there".

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Apparently, it is likely that every star plays host to at least one planet.

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