An engineer loads hydrogen gas into the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, in a clean room at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The hydrogen is cooled and frozen inside a Thermos-like bottle, called the cryostat, which keeps the science instrument cold. This allows WISE to see the infrared glow of space objects without picking up its own heat.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission's principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.