SpaceX launch of NASA's planet hunting satellite from Cape Canaveral delayed

Elon Musk's Boring Co raises $112.5 million in funding most from Musk

Armed with four sensitive cameras, the refrigerator-sized satellite will seek out the tiny, telltale dips in a star's light that occur when a planet "transits", or passes in front of it.

The spacecraft will monitor the brightness of over 200,000 stars in order to see if any get dimmer, which could indicate that they have orbiting planets, according to NASA.

A mission of NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) was expected to blast off at 6.32pm EDT (11.32pm GMT) from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Monday, April 16.

TESS was originally scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday from the Kennedy Space Station in Florida, but SpaceX announced Monday afternoon that the launch time is being pushed back for additional tests.

The Kepler Space Telescope from NASA managed to reveal 2,300 of the exoplanets.

"TESS is NASA's next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, including those that could support life". Of these, approximately 300 are expected to be between the size of the Earth and double the size of the Earth.

It will take TESS just two years to survey nearly the entire sky, with the satellite to begin its search in the Southern Hemisphere sky before moving onto the Northern Hemisphere next year.

Unlike Kepler, which peered deep into a narrow stretch of sky to find faraway planets around stars like the sun, TESS's survey will be "wide and shallow", Ricker explained.

TESS data is available to the public here, so you can stay apprised of our search for Earth-like exoplanets. This allows for newly detected planets and their atmospheres to be characterized more easily. "Looking at how long it takes a planet to orbit its star, scientists are able to determine the shape of the planet's orbit and how long it takes the planet to circle its sun". These ground-based telescopes will collaborate with other ground-based telescopes to measure the masses of the planets.

Over 24 months, TESS will fly in an egg-shaped orbit as far out as the moon, scanning 26 sectors to create a 360-degree view of space around it. Kepler might have stumbled on a fair number of rocky planets during its two missions, but astronomers expect TESS will find more than a thousand - and fill a huge gap on our list. In fact, it's equipped with modern spectroscopy and will gather thousands of exoplanet candidates for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to explore further.

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