NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is set to take off on Monday in a search for new planets near the closest and brightest stars.
“The mission is expected to catalog thousands of planet candidates and vastly increase the current number of known exoplanets,” NASA said in a press release.
“TESS will find the most promising exoplanets orbiting relatively nearby stars, giving future researchers a rich set of new targets for more comprehensive follow-up studies, including the potential to assess their capacity to harbor life.”
TESS will launch from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, searching for planets that will become the focus of future searches for signs of life.
SpaceX held a test-fire for its Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, practicing loading fuel and firing the first stage’s engines.
TESS is the follow up for the Kepler Space Telescope, which is due to run out of fuel within months.