This photo released by SpaceX on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 shows a Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Fla. Once in orbit, TESS will peer at hundreds of thousands of bright neighboring stars, seeking planets that might support life. (SpaceX via AP)

Take 2 for launch of NASA planet-hunting spacecraft

April 18, 2018 - 1:17 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft is back on the pad for another shot at launch.

A SpaceX Falcon rocket is set to blast off with the Tess satellite Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX halted Monday's countdown for extra rocket checks.

Once in orbit, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess , will peer at hundreds of thousands of bright neighboring stars, seeking planets that might support life. 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.

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