Exoplanet Hunter TESS will be launched by NASA today

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 launch was retargeted for Wednesday, with an anticipated liftoff time of 6:51 p.m. ET (3:51 p.m. PT).

TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets.

That transit detection technique was pioneered by earlier probes such as NASA's Kepler telescope, which was launched in 2009. Such planets would be candidates for harboring life.

Scientists will be able to analyze data from TESS and study new information from nearly 85 percent of the sky. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. After that, scientists will provide deeper research with better equipment, etc. TESS will then create a catalog of thousands of exoplanet candidates using this transit photometry method.




"S will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the closest stars", Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, said in a statement.

The company has also reused two of its uncrewed Dragon cargo ships to deliver NASA cargo to the International Space Station (one of them is in orbit right now) and is actively trying to capture the payload fairings - or nose cones - that shroud and protect satellites and other payloads during launch. "The thing that we can imagine is that there's this armada of nanosatellites that'll be sweeping out from the Earth to send back information".

The spacecraft will look for minuscule dips in the light of those stars that would indicate that a planet passed between its star and the telescope, blocking out a bit of the star's light from TESS's perspective.

"TESS is just the first step in that journey", said Stephen Rinehart, TESS project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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