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SpaceX Falcon 9 Ready To Launch NASA's TESS Satellite From Cape Canaveral

18 April 2018

TESS is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 6:32 p.m. EDT on April 16 aboard a 230-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - TESS - is the US space agency's newest planet-hunting spacecraft that will search for undiscovered planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets.

"TESS will collect 27 gigabytes per day in its all-sky search for undiscovered planets orbiting 200,000 of the brightest and closest stars in our solar neighborhood", NASA explains on its website.

While Kepler affirmed around 2,300 exoplanets and thousands of more potential planet applicants, numerous were excessively inaccessible and diminish, making it impossible to be examined further.

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.

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It will take TESS just two years to survey nearly the entire sky, with the satellite to begin its search in the Southern Hemisphere sky before moving onto the Northern Hemisphere next year.

These dips in the observed brightness of a star over time create a pattern to reveal the signal of an orbiting planet, NASA said.

Not only is it an important first step in helping humanity find a potential new home, it will also be a great test for SpaceX.

TESS is the successor of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and it is created to scan the sky for exoplanets within 300 light-years of Earth.

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

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Why has TESS mission been delayed? These so-called "transits" may mean that planets are in orbit around them. Each orbit will take about 13.7 days.

What is the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite? Then, on regular intervals, the data on the identified planets will be transmitted back to Earth, which astronomers can use for follow-up studies. If all goes to plan, the satellite will settle into a long, looping orbit around Earth in June.

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. Future missions (like NASA's James Webb Space Telescope) could probe their atmospheres for signs of molecules that are necessary for life as we know it.

The national Board of the U.S. on Aeronautics and research of space administration (NASA) launches orbiting Observatory TESS.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Ready To Launch NASA's TESS Satellite From Cape Canaveral