Feeds

NASA's WISE heads skywards

Embarks on six-month infrared mission

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, aka WISE, is up and running following a successful launch at 14:09 GMT today from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The launch of WISE. Pic: NASAThe 661kg spacecraft was lifted aloft by a Delta II rocket, following a launch knock-back last week caused by an "anomaly in the motion of a booster steering engine".

Shortly after separation from the rocket, WISE sent back its first signals to ground controllers and appears to be in good shape.

Over six months, WISE will operate at an altitude of 525km, passing over the poles 15 times a day and snapping every 11 seconds through its 40-cm (16-inch) telescope to eventually capture around 1,500,000 images of the entire sky in the infrared "with a sensitivity hundreds of times greater than ever before".

NASA's summary explains that the mission will "uncover objects never seen before", including brown dwarfs, ultraluminous infrared galaxies and "disks of planetary debris around young stars".

The spacecraft is also tasked with detecting "near-Earth objects, both asteroids and comets, with orbits that come close to crossing Earth's path". NASA expects to find "hundreds" of these bodies, and the catalogue will enable an estimate of "approximately how often Earth can expect an encounter with a potentially hazardous asteroid".

NASA's main WISE page is here, the mission overview here, and further spacecraft and instrumentation details are here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.