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Your daily roundup of research news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker


Science Ticker

NASA’s TESS spacecraft launches to begin its exoplanet search

TESS launch on Falcon 9 rocket

UP, UP AND AWAY  NASA’s TESS telescope launches from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 18 on a mission to search for planets orbiting nearby, bright stars.

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After a two-day delay, the planet-hunting TESS telescope successfully launched into a clear blue sky at Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 6:51 p.m. EDT on April 18.

TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is headed to an orbit between the Earth and the moon, a journey that will take about two months. In its first two years, the telescope will seek planets orbiting 200,000 nearby, bright stars, and identify the best planets for further study. TESS’ cameras will survey 85 percent of the sky by splitting it up into 26 zones and focusing on each zone for 27 days apiece.

TESS launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A previous launch attempt on April 16 was scrubbed so that SpaceX could run more tests on the rocket’s guidance, navigation and control system. SpaceX recovered the rocket’s first stage booster on an autonomous drone ship and hopes to reuse the rocket on a future launch.

Astronomy

Delayed launch of NASA’s next exoplanet hunter is now set for tonight

By Lisa Grossman 2:53pm, April 16, 2018
NASA’s next exoplanet hunter, TESS, launches today to seek planets in 85 percent of the sky.
Animals,, Physics

In a colony, king penguins behave like molecules in a 2-D liquid

By Dan Garisto 12:03pm, April 6, 2018
Positions of king penguins in a breeding colony resemble molecules in a 2-D liquid.
Biomedicine,, Health

A new coronavirus is killing pigs in China

By Helen Thompson 1:00pm, April 4, 2018
Genetic evidence identifies a previously unknown coronavirus that’s causing problems in pigs.
Astronomy

A Chinese space station will fall to Earth this weekend

By Lisa Grossman 8:00am, March 30, 2018
The Chinese space agency’s first space station is coming back to Earth this weekend. It probably won’t cause damage, but it will cause fireworks.
Science & Society

New spending bill mostly boosts money for science research

By Emily DeMarco 6:35pm, March 23, 2018
Here’s a quick look at how science agencies fared in the newly passed spending package.
Genetics,, Anthropology

Atacama mummy’s deformities were unduly sensationalized

By Dan Garisto 2:54pm, March 22, 2018
A malformed human mummy known as Ata has been sensationalized as alien. A DNA analysis helps overturn that misconception.
Technology,, Artificial Intelligence,, Science & Society

First pedestrian death from a self-driving car fuels safety debate

By Dan Garisto 6:24pm, March 19, 2018
A self-driving Uber kills woman in Arizona in the first fatal pedestrian strike by an autonomous car.
Earth

Critter-finding mission to Antarctica’s Larsen C iceberg scrapped

By Carolyn Gramling 7:00am, March 3, 2018
Thick sea ice ended a rapid-response mission to study seafloor that lay beneath Larsen C iceberg.
Animals

Penguin supercolony discovered in Antarctica

By Katy Daigle 6:26pm, March 2, 2018
Scientists have found a penguin supercolony living on tiny, remote Antarctic islands.
Astronomy,, Materials

Watch an experimental space shield shred a speeding bullet

By Lisa Grossman 3:45pm, February 27, 2018
Engineers tested how well a prototype shield for spacecraft would stand up to space debris by shooting it with a solid aluminum pellet.
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