WISE: The Infrared Full Sky Survey
Mar. 17 & 18
In early January, 2010, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) began imaging the entire sky with sensitivities in the mid-Infrared hundreds of times greater than previous surveys. WISE recently completed its first full survey of the sky. Although WISE itself is an astrophysics mission, NASA's Planetary Science Mission Directorate has funded an enhancement to the WISE project, called "NEOWISE", which is dedicated to discovering and archiving moving objects. Infrared observations are sensitive to the low albedo objects that are usually missed by optical surveys, and by the end of the mission, NEOWISE is expected to observe ~500 Near-Earth Objects, over 150,000 Main Belt Asteroids, ~100 comets, and ~1500 Trojan asteroids - a vast catalog of information on small bodies in our Solar System that will leave a legacy for decades to come.
Dr. Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE Principal Investigator, JPL