Feeds

Asteroid-hunting beauty AWAKENS, takes cheeky snaps of neighbours

NEOWISE proves it's fit to chase down Earth-threatening space rocks

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) has sent back its first test pics in preparation for restarting its mission to map all the nearby asteroids.

A patch of sky in the constellation Pisces snapped by NEOWISE

The spacecraft has already done the most comprehensive survey to date of space rocks, discovering more than 34,000 of the asteroids hurtling through our solar system and characterising 158,000 of them during 2010 and 2011.

It has been sleeping for two-and-a-half years and was brought out of hibernation by the space agency in September to help find potentially Earth-threatening asteroids.

"NEOWISE not only gives us a better understanding of the asteroids and comets we study directly, but it will help us refine our concepts and mission operation plans for future, space-based near-Earth object cataloging missions," said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator for NEOWISE at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"The spacecraft is in excellent health, and the new images look just as good as they were before hibernation. Over the next weeks and months we will be gearing up our ground-based data processing and expect to get back into the asteroid hunting business, and acquire our first previously undiscovered space rock, in the next few months."

To ensure that NEOWISE is still firing on all cylinders, boffins had the craft use its 16-inch telescope and infrared cameras to snap more shots of rock it had previously spotted - (872) Holda. The new pics tell the engineers that the quality of its observations are as sharp as ever.

The craft will also be gathering information to help support NASA's asteroid initiative, which aims to identify, capture and relocate an asteroid in order to study it up close and personal.

"It is important that we accumulate as much of this type of data as possible while the spacecraft remains a viable asset," said Lindley Johnson, NASA's NEOWISE programme executive. "NEOWISE is an important element to enhance our ability to support the initiative." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?