NASA to begin search for 20000 exoplanets with launch of new satellite

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But SpaceX tweeted earlier tonight that the launch would now be delayed until Wednesday, April 18.

If there are still problems, NASA do have a launch window which extends until June 2018.

A mission of NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) was expected to blast off at 6.32pm EDT (11.32pm GMT) from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Monday, April 16.

NASA's latest space-bound astrophysics instrument will be carried aloft by a Falcon 9 rocket from the fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's private launch service, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. The craft is set to sweep the sky as it orbits the earth for two years.

You'll want to hang on after the launch and landing to see TESS officially get sent on its way when it is deployed about 48 minutes after launch. NASA also predicts the discovery of up to 500 planets that are less than twice the size of Earth.

The Tess mission will go up on a Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida and survey almost the entire sky over the course of the next two years.

SpaceX said extra time is needed to examine the Falcon 9 rocket's guidance, navigation and control system.

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The data will be collected during a two-year period in which TESS will survey the entire sky by breaking it into 26 equal sectors.

"Transit photometry, which looks at how much light an object puts out at any given time, can tell researchers a lot about a planet".

"TESS's legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will comprise the most favorable targets for detailed investigations in the coming decades", NASA notes. Repetitive, periodic dips can reveal a planet or planets orbiting a star.

"One of the numerous stunning things that Kepler let us know is that planets are all over the place and there is a wide range of planets out there".

It promises an ability to resolve the atmospheres of some of the new worlds, to look for gases that might hint at the presence of life. "TESS is kind of like a scout", said Natalia Guerrero, deputy manager of TESS Objects of Interest, an MIT-led effort that will catalogue objects captured in TESS data that may be potential exoplanets.

"TESS is going to significantly build the number of planets that we need to consider", said Ricker. 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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