A NASA satellite launched in April has started operations, beginning the search for planets outside our solar system.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Sattelite, or TESS, is seeking out planets around nearby stars and will send its first results next month. After that, it will send updates every 13-14 days.
The TESS mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in light. These dips, called transits, suggest a planet may be passing in front of its star.
NASA believes TESS could potentially find thousands of planets using the method.
«Now that we know there are more planets than stars in our universe, I look forward to the strange, fantastic worlds we’re bound to discover,» Paul Hertz, the director of NASA’s Astrophysics division,said in a statement.
The $337 million satellite launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in April atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, deploying in an orbit between Earth and the moon.
TESS follows the launch of NASA’s Kepler, a planet-hunting space telescope deployed to find more habitable planets across the universe.