Nasa all set to launch new planet hunting mission TESS

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. raises $113 million to chase a pipe dream		
		
	Lucas Matney

   	7 hours

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. raises $113 million to chase a pipe dream Lucas Matney 7 hours

The BBC understands that scientists on the mission also want a delay so they can run some extra checks on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite itself.

Once in orbit, Tess will spend about two years surveying 200,000 of the brightest stars near the Sun to search for planets outside our solar system.

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.

NASA is now targeting Wednesday for the launch of its next planet-hunting mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess.

When Tess does get up, it will stare at stars for weeks at a time, hoping to catch the dips in brightness that occur when orbiting worlds traverse their faces. Once the planet has been identified, scientists will be able to take a close look from ground-based telescopes to confirm the discovery and determine how big the planet really is, what is the composition of its atmosphere and if it is a rocky or a gas giant, among many other things. Of these, some 300 are expected to be Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized exoplanets, which are worlds no larger than twice the size of Earth.

Mission planners have designed a novel orbit that will see Tess corralled by the gravity of the Moon.

The interest will be in whether they are orbiting at a distance from their host star that allows for liquid water - a prerequisite for life.

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"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?"

New telescope will look for planets where alien life.

TESS will create a catalog of thousands of exoplanet candidates using this transit photometry method.

The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020, should be able to reveal more about planets' mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere - all clues to habitability.

"We're expecting to find 2,000-3,000 planets that are certainly below the size of our Jupiter and a lot of them below the size of Neptune; so, the ones that have the potential for being terrestrial, for being rocky", said Jennifer Burt from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which leads the mission.

The much-anticipated launch of NASA's newest exoplanet hunter has been rescheduled, the US space agency announced in a brief news release.

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