UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Space X has canceled its launch today, hoping to try for a Wednesday launch window.
Previous story: A planet-hunting satellite is scheduled to launch tonight from Cape Canaveral aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is scheduled for liftoff at 6:32 p.m. with a 30-second launch window. A backup launch window opens Tuesday at 6:13 p.m.
On its two-year mission, TESS will look for planets smaller than Earth all the way to gas giants. It will do this by monitoring more than 200,000 bright host stars.
Regular dips in the brightness of stars could indicate orbiting planets.
Space X will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on the “Of course I still love you” drone ship offshore.
The second drone ship is named “Just read the instructions.” The names were chosen by SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk to honor the sci-fi author Iain M. Banks.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.
Worlds orbiting other stars are called exoplanets.
Thousands of exoplanets have already been discovered. In 2016, NASA developed a unique way to introduce some of them to the public with an whimsical vacation-planning guide.
The wonders of space can be difficult for people to grasp because it sometimes comes across as just data, said Joby Harris, a visual strategist with NASA during a 2016 interview.
“Our universe has gotten so much bigger but people aren’t talking about it,” Harris said. “The power of imagery with science really makes the connection with people.”