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NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success

17 April 2018

The planned liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, remains scheduled for 6:32 p.m. EDT Monday night from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"Launch teams are standing down today to conduct additional guidance navigation and control analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, 18 April", Nasa said.

Once in orbit, Tess will spend about two years surveying 200,000 of the brightest stars near the Sun to search for planets outside our solar system.

Nasa predicts that TESS could find more than 50 Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of the Earth.

"The most important thing, I think, would be to find signs of water vapor in a small planet atmosphere, because all life as we know it needs liquid water", says Seager, who notes that at the moment, "we're very far from knowing that something is like Earth out there".

Disappointed space watchers were assured by NASA that there are no major concerns with the launch overall.

TESS and Kepler use the same system of detecting planetary transits, or shadows cast as they pass in front of their star.

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TESS is the successor of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and it is created to scan the sky for exoplanets within 300 light-years of Earth.

"But since then, we have found thousands of planets orbiting others stars and we think all the stars in our galaxy must have their own family of planets".

"Tess will tell us where and when to point", said Cheops' Esa project scientist, Kate Isaak. The technical glitch has delayed the launch of new NASA space telescope, created to detect worlds beyond our solar system, for at least 48 hours.

"We expect TESS will discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life, could be precisely measured by future observers", said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator.

There are two ways to watch the telescope launch into space, so bookmark this page - and don't miss our in-depth coverage of TESS and how the mission could discover dozens of habitable rocky planets near Earth. In addition, we can form a picture of what the inside of a star looks like. The satellite will fly with the Falcon for 44 minutes before being ejected on to a highly elliptical path around Earth.

Why has TESS mission been delayed?

NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success