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NASA to launch satellite looking for 20,000 new exoplanets

NASA to launch satellite looking for 20,000 new exoplanets
From Al Jazeera - April 16, 2018

NASA is set to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Monday, starting a new chapter in the search for planets that could potentially support extraterrestrial life.

During its mission, TESS will analyse thousands of relatively nearby stars for planets orbiting the stars.

According to NASA, scientists expect to find about 50 Earth-sized planets and about 20,000 exoplanets in total, of which the vast majority will probably be larger than Neptune, our solar system's fourth biggest planet.

Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star other than the sun.

TESS will be sent into spaceaboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the launch of which is slated to take place at 10:30 GMT at the Cape Canaveral station in Florida.

It will take two weeks for the satellite to get in its planned orbit and will eventually be closer to the Moon than to Earth.

After two months of testing and calibrating its systems, TESS will start a two-year mission examining 200,000 stars looking for exoplanets.

Launching Monday, our planet-hunting @NASA_TESS spacecraft will fly in a unique orbit that will allow it to study nearly the entire sky over 2 years. This special orbit is key in potentially finding thousands of new planets outside our solar system. Watch: pic.twitter.com/2ONGXewAji

NASA (@NASA) April 16, 2018

Based on the light emitted by the stars, the satellite will be able to catalog thousands of planets, NASA said.

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