SpaceX to launch NASA spacecraft to look for alien planets

SpaceX to launch NASA spacecraft to look for alien planets

The Tess satellite will survey nearly the entire sky, staring at the brightest, closest stars in an effort to find any planets that might be encircling them.

On the NASA website, there will be a 30-minute show on Monday at 10 am EDT by the NASA EDGE team that will talk about the TESS spacecraft and the science of looking planets outside the solar system.

The SpaceX rocket launch scheduled for Monday evening has been delayed.

NASA is all set to launch its next hunt for planets outside our solar system as preparations get underway for the launch of the TESS satellite, which will be carried into space in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday morning.

"TESS is opening a door for a whole new kind of study", said Stephen Rinehart, TESS project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which manages the mission. "This is the future".

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Depending on available light, NASA can determine the size of the star as well as its planets and the length of orbits, which can give an indication of the planet's proximity to the star, which in turn can help experts determine the conditions on that planet and the chance of it supporting life. The aging spacecraft is now low on fuel and near the end of its life.

TESS, with its four advanced cameras, will scan an area that is 350 times larger, comprising 85 percent of the sky in the first two years alone.

TESS uses the same method as Kepler for finding potential planets, by tracking the dimming of light when a celestial body passes in front of a star.

By focusing on planets dozens to hundreds of light-years way, TESS may enable future breakthroughs, he said.

The launch is now scheduled for Wednesday evening.

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