Nasa on planet-hunting mission

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On the NASA website, there will be a 30-minute show on Monday at 10 am EDT by the NASA EDGE team that will talk about the TESS spacecraft and the science of looking planets outside the solar system.

NASA calls the spacecraft TESS, which is short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

According to reports, the satellite, which is aimed at finding far-away planets that could potentially support life, will be launched at 6:32 pm US Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

TESS's job is to spot distant planets when they pass in front of even more distant stars, a movement known to astronomers as a "transit". Scheduled for an April 2018 launch, the spacecraft will prowl for planets around the closest, brightest stars.

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Once deployed, TESS will observe stars in our solar neighborhood to find potential exoplanet candidates.

By focusing on planets dozens to hundreds of light-years way, TESS may enable future breakthroughs, he said.

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. Once the planet has been identified, scientists will be able to take a close look from ground-based telescopes to confirm the discovery and determine how big the planet really is, what is the composition of its atmosphere and if it is a rocky or a gas giant, among many other things.

TESS, with its four advanced cameras, will scan an area that is 350 times larger, comprising 85 percent of the sky in the first two years alone.

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