NASA will launch a planet-hunting spacecraft atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this week. The launch was originally scheduled for Monday at 6:32 p.m., but was postponed to conduct additional GNC analysis. Teams are now working towards a targeted launch of Wednesday, April 18.
Today, @NASA_TESS, our planet-hunting spacecraft, will launch to begin our latest mission to search for planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets: https://t.co/hhVlBWjlU1 pic.twitter.com/rnjZzz4Zqg
— NASA (@NASA) April 16, 2018
According to space.com, shortly after liftoff SpaceX will try to land the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 on a robotic ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Once in space, TESS will be looking for exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) orbiting the brightest stars in Earth's sky.
It will reportedly monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets.
MIT anticipates Tess will discover thousands of exoplanets of all sizes around a variety of star types.