NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is set to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday evening (April 16, 2018.) Once in orbit, TESS will spend about two years surveying 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for planets outside our solar system.
To watch the launch, tune in to NASA TV. Lift-off is planned for no earlier than 6:32 p.m. EDT (10:32 UTC; translate to your time). Prelaunch mission coverage will begin on Sunday, April 15, with three live briefings. Watch here.
According to a NASA statement:
TESS is NASA’s next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, including those that could support life. The mission is expected to catalog thousands of planet candidates and vastly increase the current number of known exoplanets. 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.
Bottom line: The TESS planet-hunting mission will launch on April 16, 2018.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.