NASA sends final command to WISE telescope

NASA loses valuable eyes in the sky

February 19, 2011PASADENA, CA – A prolific sky-mapping telescope that has spent more than a year scanning the heavens for asteroids, comets and other cosmic objects received its last command today (Feb. 17). NASA shut down its WISE spacecraft – short for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer – at 3:00 p.m. EST (2000 UTC) today. The mission’s principal investigator, Ned Wright of the University of California in Los Angeles, sent the final command to the now-hibernating spacecraft, according to an update from the WISE mission’s official Twitter account. “The WISE spacecraft will remain in hibernation without ground contacts awaiting possible future use,” NASA officials said via Twitter. WISE launched on Dec. 14, 2009 to begin a 10-month mission to collect data to be stitched together into a composite map of the entire sky. The spacecraft surveyed the cosmos in infrared light, which allowed it to peer through dense layers of dust to capture stunning space photos of previously unseen objects in unprecedented detail. In addition to spotting asteroids and comets, the $320 million space telescope is designed to detect the faint glow of distant objects, such as strangely cool brown dwarf stars. Over the course of its mission, WISE scanned the sky 1 1/2 times, taking about 1.8 million images of asteroids, stars and galaxies. The spacecraft also spotted 19 previously unseen comets and more than 33,500 asteroids, including 120 near-Earth objects, which are objects with orbits that pass relatively close to Earth’s own orbit around the sun. In late September 2010, WISE ran out of the coolant needed to chill its infrared detectors. –Space.com
This entry was posted in Comets, Earth Watch, Space Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

All comments are moderated. We reserve the right not to post any comment deemed defamatory, inappropriate, or spam.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s