NASA's New Satellite Will Search For Undiscovered Exoplanets

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This optimism is based on the prediction by meteorologists with the US Air Force 45th Space Wing who said there is an 80 per cent chance of favorable weather for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's launch on Monday at 6.32 pm atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The satellite is tasked with "a mission to detect planets outside of our solar system", NASA said on its website, referring to the so-called exoplanets.

That tool comes in the form of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS for short.

NASA's new planet-hunting satellite will "discover new potential planets orbiting bright host stars relatively close to Earth", said the company, which is controlled by billionaire U.S. tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

NASA's Kepler spacecraft used the same method to spot more than 2,600 confirmed exoplanets, a lot of them orbiting faint stars 300 to 3,000 light-years away.

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"TESS is the natural next step, by searching for planets near our very nearby bright stars so that we can do the follow up measurements partly that Paul was talking about and by doing those measurements we hope to actually identify all the world's we've been dreaming about", said Sara Seager, TESS Deputy Director of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Kepler mission already found about 2,300 confirmed exoplanets and about 4,500 candidates for future exoplanet research.

Earth might have thousands of neighbors just waiting to be found.

For the last few years, we had witnessed the successful launching of the SpaceX's rockets in space. The satellite will observe the Southern hemisphere in the first year and the Northern in the second.

During this time, TESS will study and document 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for any transiting exoplanets.