SpaceX launches NASA's Planet Hunter probe, April 18, 2018

SpaceX launches NASA's Planet Hunter probe

Posted: Apr. 18, 2018 8:20 PM
Updated: Apr. 19, 2018 8:39 AM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's Tess spacecraft has embarked on a quest to find new worlds around nearby stars that could support life.

Tess soared from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket Wednesday evening.

Once in orbit, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess, will peer at hundreds of thousands of bright neighboring stars, seeking planets. Scientists expect Tess to identify thousands of planets in our cosmic backyard, adding to the bounty provided over the past decade by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The planets discovered by Kepler are too distant and too faint for practical study. But those found by Tess should be close enough for mega telescopes in the future to detect any atmospheric signs of life.

SpaceX halted Monday's countdown to make extra rocket checks.

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