Feeds

NASA aims for Friday WISE up

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer set for launch

SANS - Survey on application security programs

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, aka WISE, is scheduled to blast off on Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on its mission to "scan the entire sky in infrared light with a sensitivity hundreds of times greater than ever before".

All being well, WISE will be carried aloft atop a Delta II rocket during a launch window stretching from 14:09 to 14:23 GMT. Once it reaches its working orbit of 500 km, it will set about its six-month mission to capture 1,500,000 images which will offer a "cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects that will be catalogued and provide a vast storehouse of knowledge about the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe".

Specifically, WISE will "uncover objects never seen before, including the coolest stars, the universe's most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets".*

To do this, it's carrying a 40-centimetre-diameter (16-inch) telescope and four one million-pixel infrared detectors, all packed in a frozen-hydrogen-filled cryostat designed to keep the instruments at 12 Kelvin (-261°C).

NASA's WISE spacecraft. Pic: NASA

The whole package (seen above with solar panel at right) is described by NASA as resembling "a giant Thermos bottle" or "the Star Wars robot R2-D2", and being "about the height and weight of a big polar bear, only wider".

For those of you who prefer standard units, it's "2.85 meters tall (9.35 feet), 2 meters wide (6.56 feet), 1.73 meters deep (5.68 feet) and weighs 661 kilograms (1,433 pounds)".

NASA has the mission overview here, and full spacecraft and instrumentation details here. ®

Bootnote

* In a minor Bruce-Willis-alert moment, NASA says of asteroids and comets:

The mission is expected to find hundreds of these bodies, and hundreds of thousands of additional asteroids in our solar system's main asteroid belt. By measuring the objects' infrared light, astronomers will get the first good estimate of the size distribution of the asteroid population. This information will tell us approximately how often Earth can expect an encounter with a potentially hazardous asteroid.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.