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NASA's new planet hunter launches this week to seek new worlds

17 April 2018

The company added that its teams were now working towards an 18 April launch at 18:51 EDT (2351 BST).

NASA in a blog post said that the Tess spacecraft is in excellent health, and remains ready for launch.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), was supposed to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in the early hours today. The technical glitch has delayed the launch of new NASA space telescope, created to detect worlds beyond our solar system, for at least 48 hours. Tess is NASA's next step in the search for exoplanets, including those that could support life.

SpaceX's planned launch of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has been delayed. After its two-year mission, TESS will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope, a space telescope scheduled to launch in May 2020. SpaceX should also be broadcasting the launch, as well as its attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 on a droneship in the Atlantic.

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TESS is slated to complete a two-year survey of the "solar neighborhood", a general region which comprises more than 200,000 of the brightest nearby stars.

"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".

SpaceX will feel vindicated following a recent investigation finding it devoid of blame in the loss of the secret Zuma satellite in January, but NASA scientists will still be feeling slightly anxious with the launch of TESS.

Four wide-view cameras are surrounded by a sun shade, to keep stray light out as they monitor any dips in brightness from target stars.

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And because the planets circling them are bigger relative to the size of the star, and orbit at a closer distance, the slight disruptions of visible light from their transits are more pronounced, scientists said.

Surveying almost the entire sky, the minimum two-year mission expects to find some 20,000 so-called exoplanets around nearby, bright stars, ranging from rocky Earth-size planets to gas giants.

New telescope will look for planets where alien life. This dimming could signal a planet is moving in front of the star.

"TESS is very much a trash-treasure sort of mission."
Kepler stared at 250,000 distant stars in a cross-shaped area equal to 0.25 percent of the sky, and identified the signatures of more than 5,000 confirmed planets and candidates.

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"The answer we got from Kepler was that planets are everywhere and that on average, every star in the Milky Way has a planet", she said.

NASA's new planet hunter launches this week to seek new worlds