TESS Planet-Finding Observatory

Building on the work of the Kepler mission, NASA's TESS Planet-Finding Observatory is heading to the heavens in search of Earth-like planets. Short for "Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite", TESS will scan 85% of the sky looking at over 200,000 of the brightest stars looking for planetary transits. With any luck, it will find multiple planets that are less than 300 light-years away and within the size range necessary to combine a rocky surface with an atmosphere. Its mission is planned to take two years, but don't be surprised if you hear overly-excited blurbs about new Earth-like planets long before it's finished.

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