NEOWISE Missions & Center Operational


The NEOWISE project is the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. Funded by NASA's Planetary Science Division, NEOWISE harvests measurements of asteroids and comets from the WISE images and provides a rich archive for searching WISE data for solar system objects.

WISE was launched in December 2009, and surveyed the full sky in four infrared wavelength bands (3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 μm) until the hydrogen cooling the telescope was depleted in September 2010. The survey continued as NEOWISE for an additional four months using the two shortest wavelength detectors. The spacecraft was placed into hibernation in February 2011, after completing its search of the inner solar system.

During its primary mission, NEOWISE delivered infrared detections of more than 158,000 minor planets to the scientific community, including more than 34,000 new discoveries. NEOWISE data have been used to set limits on the numbers, orbits, sizes, and probable compositions of asteroids throughout our solar system, and enabled the discovery of the first known Earth Trojan asteroid.

In September 2013, WISE was revived with the goal of discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs), space rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) from Earth's path around the sun. NEOWISE science observations resumed in December 2013. Just six days after the survey start, NEOWISE discovered its first potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid, 2013 YP139.

As of the end of April 2014, NEOWISE has surveyed approximately 65% of the sky. Infrared measurements have been made of more than 3000 solar system small bodies, including 63 Near-Earth objects and 11 comets.

IPAC's role:

IPAC is responsible for ingestion of raw WISE data, data processing to produce the final data products, and archiving mission science and engineering data. IPAC is also responsible for the distribution of WISE data to the community, in collaboration with the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive. The IPAC Communications team also supports WISE public affairs and public outreach by preparing all of the WISE images for public release into the image gallery. IPAC's WISE Image Gallery WISE's Mission Homepage Image Gallery.


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