Skip to content
Subscriber Only

NASA Is About to Launch a New Planet-Hunter

After the stunning discoveries of Kepler, a satellite named TESS is ready to find worlds like ours.
relates to NASA Is About to Launch a New Planet-Hunter
Source: NASA

Just 25 years ago, no one knew for sure whether the stars dotting our night skies had anything circling them that resembled planets, let alone one like Earth.

Then came a NASA planet-seeker called Kepler, which starting in 2009 began finding intriguing, tell-tale blips around stars other than our sun. Almost everywhere its cameras looked, a new blip was discovered, signifying a rich abundance of “exoplanets.” Kepler’s prodigious planet-spotting—more than 1,000 of the 3,700 discovered to date—was among the first astronomical endeavors to show that the basic pattern of our solar system appears to be common elsewhere.