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The WIRE AI Program

The WIRE Associate Investigator (AI) Program was conceived as a way to maximize the science return from the approximately 10 percent of the WIRE spacecraft lifetime that will be unsuitable for performing the primary science goals of the mission. In the spring of 1997, proposals under the auspices of the NASA Astrophysics Program were solicited for WIRE Associate Investigations that would focus on the science to be done near the galactic and ecliptic planes.

The 12 selected proposals span the range from studies of solar system small bodies to an investigation of the cosmic microwave background radiation. The extremely high sensitivity of WIRE, in combination with its large field of view, makes it an ideal instrument for surveying large regions for faint objects, whether they be asteroids (see Al Tedesco in Approved Proposal list, below), low luminosity protostars, circumstellar disks, or distant galaxies (Knapp). Several of the Al programs focus on the evolution of the circumstellar material around young stars from the earliest stages of cloud collapse (Myers) through the classical T Tauri phase of active disk accretion in a variety of cloud environments (Lada), to the period of disk dispersal (Padgett), and finally to young main sequence stars surrounded by the remnant debris of planetary formation (Backman). Another proposal seeks to understand the final evolutionary stages of massive stars (Marston). Other programs will study diffuse emission from the local zodiacal cloud (Jayaraman), comet dust trails (Walker), various phases of the interstellar medium (Helou), large-scale galactic structure (Garzon), and the cosmic infrared background radiation (Kashlinsky).

By addressing scientific questions that are complementary to the primary WIRE science, the WIRE AI Program expands the scope of WIRE's contribution in understanding the origin and evolution of planets, stars, and the universe.

Approved Al Proposals

Proposal Title Assoc. Investigator Affiliation
Search for Terrestrial-Temperature Material Around Young Open Cluster and Field Stars Dana E. Backman Franklin and Marshall College
A Deep Multi-Wavelength Survey of the Galactic Plane Francisco Garzon Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
Star Formation and Density Structure of Nearby Clouds   George Helou Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology
WIRE Observations of the Zodiacal Cloud: Resolving the Near-Ecliptic Dust Band Pair Sumita Jayaraman Vanguard Research
Using WIRE to Measure the Structure of the Cosmic Infrared Background at 12 and 25 Microns Alexander Kashlinsky Hughes STX
Imaging the Celestial Equator at 12 Microns and 25 Microns and Comparison with Five Color Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Gillian R. Knapp Princeton University

Toward a Complete Inventory of Star and Planet Formation Activity in Nearby Molecular Clouds

Elizabeth A. Lada University of Florida
WIRE Observations of Circumstellar Regions of Evolved Massive Stars Anthony P. Marston Drake University
A Nearly Complete Census of Young Stars in the Nearest Molecular Clouds Philip C. Myers Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Evolution of Pre-Main-Sequence Circumstellar Disks: WIRE Survey of a Nearby Star-formation Region
Deborah L. Padgett Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology
Sampling the Small End of the Asteroid-Size Frequency Distribution Edward F. Tedesco TerraSystems, Inc.
A Survey of Comet Debris Trails Using the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer Russell G. Walker Vanguard Research


Last Updated: 12/2/98