Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer Coming Together

May 20, 2009 By Eric Warren
Artist's concept of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- The science instrument for NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has been shipped to Boulder, Colo., for a planned launch in November.

Space Dynamics Laboratory has completed ’s Wide‐field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) . The WISE instrument was shipped from SDL’s manufacturing and test facility in North Logan, Utah, to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., where it will be integrated onto the satellite.

“Following a scheduled launch late this year, the SDL‐built WISE instrument will collect millions of images from which hundreds of millions of astronomical objects will be catalogued,” said Dr. Doug Lemon, director of SDL. “For decades SDL has worked with NASA to map the skies and our commitment to NASA continues as WISE prepares to chart space in infrared light, searching for the closest stars and asteroids, the origins of star systems, and some of the brightest galaxies in the Universe.”

Built for NASA by SDL, the WISE instrument is a super‐cooled infrared space‐based telescope designed to provide a full sky, infrared map that will advance the understanding of our Universe. Additionally, it will enable the James Webb Space Telescope to more efficiently target objects of interest in space. The James Webb Space Telescope is the next‐generation follow‐on to the Hubble Space Telescope.

With hundreds of times the infrared sensitivity of any previous all‐sky survey, WISE will measure the diameters of over 100,000 asteroids in our solar system, and provide a complete inventory of nearby young stars as well as of the debris disks associated with planetary systems around older nearby stars.

Standing approximately two meters tall and weighing over 360 kilograms at , the WISE instrument is designed to discover many cool, dim brown dwarf stars close to our sun, and detect far distant ultra-luminous infrared galaxies where star formation is taking place at a greatly accelerated rate.

Provided by Utah State University

Explore further: Storms threaten second launch try to space station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA approves construction of satellite to scan galaxies

Oct 19, 2006

After eight years of study, NASA has approved the construction of an unmanned satellite that will scan the entire sky in infrared light to reveal nearby cool stars, planetary "construction zones" and the brightest galaxies ...

NASA OKs construction of satellite

Oct 25, 2006

NASA has approved construction of a satellite that will scan the entire sky in infrared light to detect cool stars and bright galaxies.

James Webb Telescope components pass tests

Sep 17, 2008

You might think that shaking and freezing a state-of-the-art, meticulously crafted machine is a bad idea. But when it comes to firing telescopes and their instruments into the frigid cold of space, the more ...

Recommended for you

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

2 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

3 hours ago

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

Proposed Mars 'Icebreaker' mission detailed

3 hours ago

Scientists supported by the Astrobiology Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) and Astrobiology Instrument Development Programs (ASTID) have outlined the proposed 'Icebreaker' mission to Mars in a recent ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...