Launch Of NASA's Newest Planet-Hunting Spacecraft Delayed

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The launch of the new NASA's TESS (Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite) TESS (Space Shuttle Space Telescope), which will only search for exoplanets, is scheduled tonight.

To boldly go where no observatory has gone before (in orbit), TESS will be hitching a lift on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and so far, the run up to the launch has been textbook.

She told reporters on the eve of the launch: 'It was created to look at 150,000 stars in a fairly wide field of view without blinking, for four years.

NASA TV and SpaceX both will be live streaming the launch of the satellite.

"We can start to find out, how does planet occurrence vary as a function of the type of star and the age of the star?"

The satellite will look for transits or occasional light-blocking events that result due to the presence of a planet orbiting a star, according to a statement from NASA.

NASA's newest planet hunter, TESS, will look around the brightest stars closest to our solar system for new worlds.

The TESS satellite will survey the sky in search of small dips in the light emanating from nearby stars.

"TESS is a bridge between what we have already learned about exoplanets and what we will learn in the future", said Jeff Volosin, project director at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The spacecraft will revolve around the Earth every two weeks, in a 2:1 resonance with our planet's natural satellite; for every orbit the moon makes, the spacecraft will complete two. Kepler found a massive trove of exoplanets by focusing on one patch of sky, which contained about 150,000 stars like the Sun. One of the many incredible things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there. Scientists expect to discover thousands of planets that, over time, will undergo further scrutiny by powerful telescopes in space and on Earth. After its two-year mission, TESS will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope, a space telescope scheduled to launch in May 2020. He is interested in the variations in brightness of the stars that will be observed by Tess.

Further follow-ups on potentially habitable planets could be done using more powerful telescopes, such as NASA's yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope, which is created to analyze alien atmospheres and help scientists look for potential signs of life.

Scientists at MIT who planned the mission say they could discover thousands of new worlds within 24 months - including 50 Earth-size planets that might be habitable to aliens.

When active, TESS will collect 27GB of scientific data every day before being put through NASA's specialist algorithms, which are created to clean up the signal to remove any background interference.

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