Science

NASA's Planet Hunter TESS' Launch Has Been Delayed

NASA's Planet Hunter TESS' Launch Has Been Delayed

The launch, which is now scheduled for Wednesday, will feature a brand new Falcon 9, as opposed to the used (sorry, "flight proven") rockets that the company sometimes uses after recovering and refurbishing them.

NASA has been told it has to wait until 18 April for the launch of its latest satellite - the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) - after ground crew identified that further guidance, navigation and control analysis had to be done.

Based on Kepler's statistics, the science team expects to detect more than 1,500 transiting exoplanet candidates over the course of a two-year primary mission, including roughly 500 Earth-sized and "Super Earth" planets.

Once on station, TESS's four 16.8-megapixel cameras, each equipped with four state-of-the-art CCD detectors, will spend at least two years monitoring starlight across the southern and then northern skies, on the lookout for the tell-tale dimming that occurs when a planet moves in front of its host star - a transit - as viewed from the spacecraft. "These types of planets that are close to us are much more easy to study, and we can measure their masses from telescopes here on Earth".

Cosmos will bring details of the rescheduled launch as soon as they are known.

New space telescope of NASA to observe 200 thousands of bright stars that are relatively close to the Sun.

"TESS's legacy will be a catalog of the nearest and brightest stars hosting transiting exoplanets, which will comprise the most favorable targets for detailed investigations in the coming decades", NASA notes.




The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020, should be able to reveal more about planets' mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere - all clues to habitability.

There are many definitions of an Earth-like exoplanet.

"One of the many incredible things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there", Patricia Boyd, TESS guest investigator program lead at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, told reporters in advance of the scheduled launch.

Bill Chaplin is an astroseismologist from Birmingham University, UK. Scientists at MIT and NASA will take the raw data and convert it into light curves that indicate the changing brightness of a star over time.

This variability is a effect of resonances in the stars' outer layers, and it allows the British professor to pull out a lot of extra information.

"So we've optimized the field in such a way, because these are the types of stars that were really not possible to explore very well with Kepler".

The reason for the delay seems to be a problem with the rocket's side, Space.com reports. We can say how massive they are and how old they are. "So, in essence we can do the equivalent of an ultrasound scan on them".