NASA's New Planet-Hunting TESS Launch Postponed To Wednesday (LISTEN Tess Podcast)

NASA's New Planet-Hunting TESS Launch Postponed To Wednesday (LISTEN Tess Podcast)

NASA's newest planet-hunting telescope is set to launch into orbit on Monday aboard a rocket built by Elon Musk's aerospace company, SpaceX.

Starting at 6 p.m., the US space agency will cover the events surrounding the countdown and launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The latest SpaceX launch is scheduled for today in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when a Falcon 9 rocket will blast off carrying a NASA satellite that will search for exoplanets outside our solar system.

But later that day, SpaceX announced it was delaying the launch for extra testing.

The launch of a new NASA satellite, which will hunt for exoplanets that have the potential to harbour alien life, has been delayed to April 18.

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 reported that the TESS spacecraft itself remains in excellent health as it perches nervously on top of the Falcon 9.

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TESS will survey far more cosmic terrain than its predecessor, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope which launched in 2009, taking in some 85 percent of the skies.

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.

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. The Moon pulls the satellite on one side, and by the time TESS completes one orbit, the Moon is on the other side tugging in the opposite direction.

The relatively small TESS spacecraft is equipped with four ultra-sensitive cameras developed by MIT that will detect tiny dips in light when a planet crosses its host star, an event called a transit. TESS is an Earth-orbiting instrument meant to spot faraway planets circling some 200,000 stars within 300 light-years of Earth.

"Tess will tell us where and when to point", said Cheops' Esa project scientist, Kate Isaak. For ages, they have wondered and worked hard for finding new life on a different planet. Although the ground system used for these studies are able to examine larger areas of the sky, the Earth's atmosphere greatly limits the quality of their data.

"But since then, we have found thousands of planets orbiting others stars and we think all the stars in our galaxy must have their own family of planets". "It's like we're making a treasure map", Guerrero said.