NASA satellite launches in search for planets that could support life






Washington -By Gretel Johnston, - A NASA satellite designed to search for planets outside our solar system that could potentially support life launched Wednesday.



 
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched at 6:51 pm (2251 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, riding into space atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The mission was originally set for Monday but was delayed while scientists conducted further tests on the navigation system.
TESS was successfully deployed to orbit, SpaceX said on Twitter about an hour after liftoff.
TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near our sun in its search for exoplanets. NASA says it will be able to detect them when they periodically block part of the light from their host stars.
"How many worlds exist outside our solar system?" NASA asked on Twitter, where it posted a video of the launch. The space agency said TESS would use four cameras "to search nearly the entire sky for unknown worlds."
TESS scientists expect the mission to catalogue thousands of potential exoplanets. Of these, approximately 300 are expected to be between the size of the Earth and double the size of the Earth.
The satellite will seek to find exoplanets that have the most promising conditions for supporting life, NASA said.
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. Powerful cameras on the satellite will "stare" at each sector for at least 27 days, looking at the brightest stars.
The first public release of processed data is planned for early in 2019, NASA said.

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Thursday, April 19th 2018
By Gretel Johnston,
           


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