SpaceX to slow upper rocket stages with "giant party balloon"

Boring Company tunnel

Boring Company tunnel

Just a couple of decades ago, the notion of finding habitable planets - or any planets at all - was a mere fantasy, said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director at NASA.

Even Musk, SpaceX's CEO and chief designer, admits it's a pretty wild idea. The next attempt will be Wednesday night.

On its two-year mission, TESS will look for planets smaller than Earth all the way to gas giants.

TESS is expected to "catalog thousands of planet candidates" and hugely raise the existing number of "known exoplanets", according to the NASA website. The facility's team will be tasked with researching, designing, and ultimately developing the BFR, SpaceX's "Big Falcon Rocket" meant to get humans to Mars. Falcon 9 first stages perform engine maneuvers in space that send them back to Earth, where they can land on an offshore drone ship or landing pads near their launch sites.

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NASA is all set to launch its next hunt for planets outside our solar system as preparations get underway for the launch of the TESS satellite, which will be carried into space in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday morning.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is scheduled to launch Monday at 6:32 pm (2232 GMT) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA is planning to launch a new planet-hunter, a Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite that'll sit in an elliptical orbit and scour depths of our cosmos in search of worlds similar to our own. Scheduled for an April 2018 launch, the spacecraft will prowl for planets around the closest, brightest stars.

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