On Monday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX company officially announced that it has postponed the launch of NASA’s planet-hunter spacecraft. According to a statement from the California-based company, the reason for this was a need to check Falcon 9 rocket’s navigation systems. The scheduled date for the launch of this satellite is on Wednesday now. It’s worth noting that the mission of the $337 million spacecraft is to search for any signs of extraterrestrial life by scanning space for Earth-like planets that are also near-by.
The official name for the spacecraft is the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. According to SpaceX, it’s state is excellent and remains ready to launch at any given time. The company announced the reschedule just two hours before the spacecraft was supposed to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is the size of a regular washing machine. It also has the purpose to search the brightest and closest start for signs of dimming. This usually means that planets are orbiting them. NASA explained that they are hoping to reveal 20,000 never-before-seen exoplanets, thanks to TESS.
SpaceX has postponed the launch of the TESS mission
If the spacecraft will indeed make these discoveries, they will be further analyzed by telescopes both on ground and space-based. They will search for any indications that life might exist on those planets. Things like rocky terrain, the distance from their sun and the size which should be similar to the Earth’s, are all good indicators.
NASA’s prediction is that TESS can find about 50 planets of the size of our own. Moreover, 500 more planets about twice the size of the Earth. NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope is TESS’s predecessor, which was launched back in 2009. In comparison, the upcoming mission will survey a lot more cosmic terrain with the hope of finding that we are indeed not along in the universe.
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