Tess will make up for that, as it will spend two years observing 200,000 of the brightest stars in the sky, a lot of them located no more than 300 light years away.
TESS, short for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is NASA's latest effort to plumb the depths and darkness of outer space in search of other Earth-like planets-including those that could potentially support life.
Those are believed the most likely to feature rocky surfaces or oceans, and are thus considered the best candidates for life to evolve, as opposed to gas giants like Jupiter or Neptune.
NASASpaceX launch The TESS satellite will scan 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets
This is the first time in history when a space-borne all-sky transit survey will be conducted. You can watch the launch live in the window below. TESS will transmit data each time it passes closest to Earth, above the orbit of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites.
TESS's mission is different.
TESS has a mirror diameter of 6.5 meters, which allows it to gather much more light than it can capture the Hubble Space Telescope.
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. "Those small stars will produce the biggest signals, and we have to start somewhere", says Angus, who remains hopeful about what could be found. NASA's new planet-hunting mission, poised to launch Monday, aims to advance the search for extraterrestrial life by scanning the skies for nearby, Earth-like planets. So astronomers want to focus on stars that are vastly brighter and closer to home close enough for NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to scrutinize the atmospheres of planets lurking in their sun's shadows. It's the beginning of a new era of exoplanet research. By studying the "output" rays scientists can determine the content of the planet's atmosphere. Will we ever find it?
"Mass is a defining planetary characteristic", said Sara Seager, TESS deputy director of science at MIT.