Sci-tech

NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft set for launch in Florida

NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft set for launch in Florida

An 11th-hour technical glitch prompted SpaceX to postpone its planned launch on Monday of a new NASA space telescope created to detect worlds beyond our solar system, delaying for at least 48 hours a quest to expand astronomers' known inventory of so-called exoplanets.

The most common categories of exoplanets are Earth- and Super Earth-sized masses-the latter of which are larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus and Neptune.

According to reports, the satellite, which is aimed at finding far-away planets that could potentially support life, will be launched at 6:32 pm US Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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. He is interested in the variations in the brightness of the stars that will be observed by Tess.

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NASA's TESS mission hopes to find exoplanets beyond our solar system.

The job is so specific that TESS will have scoured the entire sky for candidate planets in just two years. NASA says it will be able to detect them when they periodically block part of the light from their host stars. Repetitive, periodic dips can reveal a planet or planets orbiting a star. Some of these planets may lie in their star's habitable zone and could become targets for future research missions that will be able to assess their ability to harbor life.

"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?" After this list has been compiled, the TESS mission will conduct ground-based follow-up observations to confirm that the exoplanets candidates are true exoplanets and not false positives. "We expect to find a whole range of planet sizes, between planets the size of Mercury or even the Moon-our Moon-to planets the same size as Jupiter and everything in between", Still said in a NASA interview. These ground-based telescopes will collaborate with other ground-based telescopes to measure the masses of the planets. "It will allow us to follow up planet detections using other telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, to then better explore the properties of these planets".

Shortly before NASA's social media announcement, the SpaceX launch team tweeted that they were standing down and that the TESS launch had been put off until tomorrow.


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