Nasa on planet-hunting mission

Elon Musk to bypass environmental review for test tunnels in L.A

Just a couple of decades ago, the notion of finding habitable planets - or any planets at all - was a mere fantasy, said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director at NASA.

Expecting the mission to span a minimum of two years, NASA expects TESS to survey 2,00,000 of the brightest stars outside our solar system to search for transiting exoplanets. These mysterious worlds beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, could harbor life.

According to a report by Space.com, NASA's current exoplanet hunting observatory named Kepler, has nearly exhausted its fuel supply, requiring NASA to put TESS into orbit to continue research. Bigger and more powerful observatories of the future will scrutinize these prime candidates for potential signs of life. Additional information was not immediately available, according to a spokesman.

A Falcon 9 rocket is expected to lift off at 6:32 pm ET today (April 16) to put TESS-the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite-into a "highly elliptical orbit" that will allow it to spend most of its time far above Earth, giving it a better view of the cosmos.

As SpaceX attempts to do with most of its Falcon 9 rockets, eight minutes after the launch, it will attempt to land the rocket's first stage on a ship offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. He started the series of tweets with the acknowledgment that "This is gonna sound insane", and then said, "SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon". NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft is poised for a Monday evening launch.

The Tess Satellite could mean leaps and bounds for space exploration.

"TESS forms a bridge from what we have learned about exoplanets to date and where we are headed in the future", said Jeff Volosin, TESS project manager at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center.

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