Lift-off of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) from Cape Canaveral in Florida is scheduled for 6:32 pm (2232 GMT).
To boldly go where no observatory has gone before (in orbit), TESS will be hitching a lift on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and so far, the run up to the launch has been textbook. TESS's field of view is 24 degrees by 24 degrees. NASA TV is broadcasting TESS-related content up until the launch, even SpaceX also broadcasting the launch. The idea is that a few planets orbiting these stars may be similar to our own.
TESS will look for dips in the visible light of stars for detecting exoplanets as they cross in front of stars along our line of sight to them.
Watch SpaceX launch an observatory to hunt alien planets
The ultimate goal is to find small, probably rocky planets orbiting in a sweet spot around stars that's not too hot, and not too cold.
The satellite known as Tess will survey nearly the entire sky, staring at the brightest, closest stars in an effort to find any planets that might be encircling them.
After TESS launches, the team expects that the satellite will reestablish contact within the first week, during which it will turn on all its instruments and cameras.More news: Rahm holds off Dunne to win Spanish Open
Mission planners have designed a novel orbit that will see Tess corralled by the gravity of the Moon. Kepler stared at 250,000 distant stars in a cross-shaped area equal to 0.25 percent of the sky, and identified the signatures of more than 5,000 confirmed planets and candidates. For ages, they have wondered and worked hard for finding new life on a different planet.
"Kepler is what made us become aware that planets are as common as telephone poles", SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak told Space.com. When the more powerful James Webb Telescope is launched, it will train its lenses on the most promising planets TESS has found to determine if they might indeed have the credentials to support life.
TESS will use four high-powered cameras to observe more than 200,000 stars and is expected to discover thousands of new planets during its two-year stint in space. He is interested in the variations in the brightness of the stars that will be observed by Tess. The broadcast, originally set to air yesterday at 6 p.m., has been scrubbed until the Falcon 9 problem is addressed and the TESS launch is back on schedule.More news: Weather Forecast: More snow today, but warmer days are near
According to NASA, TESS is its Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Stephen Rinehart, TESS's project scientist, said of the mission: "There are some people on the mission who are very, very, very keen to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their host stars, and that would be absolutely fabulous".More news: Clermont rule out move for Paddy Jackson