NASA Is Launching A Planet-Hunting Satellite Today

19 April, 2018, 06:26 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • Solar panels are deployed on NASA's TESS satellite in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center

This photo released by SpaceX on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 shows a Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Fla. Wednesday's launch is set for 3:51 p.m. PT. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will be deployed about 50 minutes later. "If planets are everywhere, then it is time for us to find the planets that are closest to us orbiting bright nearby stars, because these will be the touchstone system". SpaceX successfully landed the rocket's first stage on a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the 24th time SpaceX has recovered one of its boosters.

An attempt to launch Monday was scrubbed so that SpaceX could run additional analyses on the guidance, navigation and control systems. 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. Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star in any solar system other than the one Earth calls home. The lunar gravity will keep the spacecraft stabilized in this orbit for decades to come, with no fuel needed.

"So TESS takes the next step".

NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports that TESS will scan almost the entire sky for alien worlds.

As reported by the ABC News, the new discovery includes planets that are not optimum to know about the lives on the other planets as they are far too away to be easily studied by ground-based telescopes for hints of life but they will still change the entire viewpoint towards the universe.

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"The planets discovered by TESS will be different, as TESS will search for planets around closer, brighter stars". In order to improve exoplanet detection capabilities, NASA, with backing from Google, awarded funding to a team from MIT to develop a new planet-hunting satellite.

In terms of exoplanets, NASA's Kepler space telescope has observed more than 300,000 stars and found more than 4,000 exoplanet candidates since it launched in 2009.

ALIEN LIFE: Tess has no instruments capable of detecting life.

The planned launch of TESS comes on the heels of NASA delaying the liftoff of its hotly-anticipated James Webb Space Telescope.


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