Thursday, April 19, 2018

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Takes Off From Cape Canaveral After Delay

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launches from Cape Canaveral Wednesday aboard one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets after getting hit with a 48-hour delay.

The space agency's latest planet-hunting spacecraft, which cost NASA roughly $200 million, will be examining 200,000 stars for the next two years in hopes of finding exoplanets.

"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," NASA said in a statement. "No ground-based survey can achieve this feat."

The satellite will be able to track down new planets by using the transit method to detect "temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits." According to NASA, such transits take place when "a planet's orbit carries it directly in front of its parent star."

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