The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) has got extension for 2 more years. NEOWISE mission launched by NASA.

  • The Mission will continue its hunt for asteroids, comets and objects that could pose hazard to Earth for additional 2 years.
  • NASA’s prolific near-Earth object hunting space telescope will continue operations till June 2023.

Backdrop

National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been surveying sky daily to find potential hazards and exploring asteroids in order to help in unlocking secrets of formation of solar system. With the help of ground-based telescopes, about 26,000 near-Earth asteroids have already been discovered. So, NASA is working to enhance observations with space-based capabilities like NEOWISE.

NEOWISE

It was originally launched as Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission in December 2009. This space telescope surveyed entire sky in infrared wavelengths and detected asteroids, dim stars, and faintest galaxies. It completed its primary mission after it depleted its cryogenic coolant. Mission was put into hibernation in February 2011. These observations were again resumed in December 2013. In the year 2013, this space telescope was repurposed by NASA’s Planetary Science Division as “NEOWISE”, which is being used to identify asteroids and comets throughout the solar system.

Uses of NEOWISE

  • It provides a unique and critical capability in mission of planetary defense as it allows to measure infrared emission.
  • NEOWISE also estimates the size of hazardous asteroids more accurately said

How size of the asteroids is determined?

When asteroids are heated by Sun, they warm up & release this heat as faint infrared radiation. Scientists can reveal the size of asteroid by studying this infrared signature and then compare it to measurements of observations made by optical telescopes fixed on ground.

Who manages the Project?

The project is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Southern California and University of Arizona which supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NEOWISE Telescope gets 2-Year Mission Extension NEOWISE Telescope gets 2-Year Mission Extension