The Launch of NASA's Latest Planet-Hunting Satellite Has Been Scrubbed

The Launch of NASA's Latest Planet-Hunting Satellite Has Been Scrubbed

NASA's space telescope Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which is expected to expand astronomers knowledge of "exoplanets" or planets beyond our solar system, will be launched into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

Starting at 6 p.m., the USA space agency will cover the events surrounding the countdown and launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) may find thousands of worlds relatively close to Earth.

"But it's not just quantity; it's quality as well - because the planets we do find will be bright enough and close enough to Earth that we really can do follow-up measurements with them".

When the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite completes its mission two years from now, scientists expect, TESS will have increased that number by a factor of five.

NASA's TESS mission hopes to find exoplanets beyond our solar system.

At a total cost of $337 million, the washing-machine-size spacecraft is built to search the nearest, brightest stars for signs of periodic dimming. But Kepler, for its primary mission at least, only looked at a very small patch of sky, and many of its discoveries were simply too far away or too dim for other telescopes to pursue with further analysis.

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The interest will be in whether they are orbiting at a distance from their host star that allows for liquid water - a prerequisite for life. "Looking at how long it takes a planet to orbit its star, scientists are able to determine the shape of the planet's orbit and how long it takes the planet to circle its sun".

NASA has assured everyone that TESS is fine, so don't worry.

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.

"This is opening an entirely new window on the universe", said MIT astrophysicist George Ricker, the principal investigator for the mission. Christiansen said. "We can resolve competing theories about how planets form".

SpaceX should go live with the YouTube video embedded below some 15 to 20 minutes before TESS's 6:32 p.m. EDT launch target on Monday.

Mission planners have designed a novel orbit that will see Tess corralled by the gravity of the Moon.

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