Launch delay for NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft


The launch is now scheduled for Wednesday evening.

"Tess will find small planets, rocky planets that might have atmospheres and features that may be conducive to life", Buzasi said.

Watch the launch live on WINK News Wednesday at 6:51 p.m. The company hopes to land this first stage on a floating ocean platform following liftoff, and reuse it on a space station supply run for NASA this summer.

Expecting the mission to span a minimum of two years, NASA expects TESS to survey 2,00,000 of the brightest stars outside our solar system to search for transiting exoplanets. These events are called transits, hence TESS' name.

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"They are going to be orbiting the nearest, brightest stars", Elisa Quintana, TESS scientist at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, told reporters on Sunday. This is the first time that humans have used an orbiting surveyor to search almost the entire sky for new planets, compared to previous efforts that have scanned just a tiny percentage of what we can see. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances.

"We might even find planets that orbit stars that we can even see with the naked eye", she added. "It's really a scout for this whole process".

"Humans have wondered forever whether we were alone in the universe, and until 25 years ago the only planets we knew about were the eight in our own solar system", he told reporters on the eve of the TESS launch. "TESS will cast a wider net than ever before for enigmatic worlds whose properties can be probed by NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and other missions".