WISE Basic Facts:
- NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.
- Is NASA's newest spacecraft.
- Blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta II rocket at 6:09:33 a.m. local time (9:09 a.m. EST; 1409 GMT) on Monday 14 December 2009.
- Will be able to survey the entire sky in infrared light.
- It will circle the Earth over the North & South Poles.
- This will be far superior to previous attempts at infrared surveys.
- The last time the whole sky was mapped at these infrared wavelengths was 26 years ago.
- Will have role in planetary protection by detecting some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids & comets.
- The mission will last ~ 9 months & will have scanned the entire sky ~ 1.5 times.
- Infrared spectrum cannot be seen by humans.
- These are longer wavelengths than the visible spectrum.
- Good for seeing objects that are cold, dusty or far away.
- WISE's infrared measurements will enable better estimates of asteroid sizes & compositions.
- It will be able to find the coolest of the "failed" stars, or brown dwarfs (tried to become stars but failed to ignite).
- WISE has also been designed to detect ultraluminous infrared galaxies to a distance of 10 billion light years over the entire sky.
- These infrared ultraluminous galaxies were previously discovered by the predecessor survey (Infrared Astronomical Satellite).
- 1,460-pound spacecraft.
- Contains a 16-inch telescope.
- WISE contains 4 state-of-the-art infrared detectors, each containing one million pixels.
- It will map the entire sky at each of these 4 infrared wavelengths.
- Sensitivity of the detectors is 100s - 1000s times greater than the predecessors.
- The WISE telescope will be able to image the glow from objects ranging from -330 degrees F to 1,300 degrees F.
- To enable the WISE spacecraft to sense the infrared glow of stars & galaxies, it must not give off any detectable infrared light of its own.
- The telescope & detectors on WISE are chilled to ultra-cold temperatures.
- A large cryostat (Thermos bottle-like) tank surrounds the equipment, & is filled with frozen hydrogen.
- WISE will only have ~ 9-10 months to perform its survey of the Universe before the frozen hydrogen has gone.
- The coldest of the WISE's detectors will operate at below 8 Kelvin (minus 445 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The $320 million project is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
- WISE will spend a month checking out its instruments before infrared scanning the sky for objects.
- The scientific instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory from Logan, Utah.
- The spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. from Boulder, Colorado.
- The science operations & data processing will be at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena.
- The WISE spacecraft data will serve as navigation charts for other missions.
- Specific WISE finds will be followed up by:
Image Credit NASA/JPL-CalTech
Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
Alchemipedia | Home | Index | AZ | Numbers | Years | Animals | Architecture | Art | Business | Fashion | Films | Food & Drink | Games | Health | History | Literature | Media | Music | People |Politics | Science | Sport | Technology | World |