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NASA Space Science

NASA WISE Satellite Blasts Into Space 139

coondoggie writes "After a three day delay, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer this morning blasted into space courtesy of a Delta II rocket and will soon begin bathing the cosmos with infrared light, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. The space agency says the WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The idea behind the spacecraft is to uncover objects never seen before, including the coolest stars, the universe's most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets."
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NASA WISE Satellite Blasts Into Space

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  • Re:Scan Rate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glop ( 181086 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:47PM (#30433228)

    The satellite only has enough cryogen to keep cool for 1.5 sky surveys. Hence the summary.
    I wonder if the satellite can still work without cryogen... I suppose it's going to be much noisier, but how much?

  • SETI Application? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:51PM (#30433272)
    I think it would be interesting to see if this thing picks up any sign of ETI... You could make the argument that initial communications for ETI might be in the infrared spectrum, as this is what is required to search for asteroids that might wipe out your home world. Any sufficiently intelligent species should have such an early warning system, indeed - you might see that as a necessary capability for an "intelligent" species.
  • by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:52PM (#30433980) Homepage

    One of the most melancholy facts about astromony is that that while at this time and for the near future we have a civilization capable of supporting advanced orbital telescopes, the solar system is currently positioned pretty much in the center of glactic plane--safer from intergalactic bombardment by cosmic rays, but also our view is clouded by interference from so many local objects that we cannot see as much, or as far, or as far back, as would be if the solar system happened to be in the part of its phase where its orbit kind of bobs up or down out of the galactic plan for a few hundred thousand years.

    The next time we'll have a clear view will be about 17 million years from now. That's for the northern sky. Add another 35 million years to that before we get a clear view to the south. I hope we're still here by then.

  • by Garble Snarky ( 715674 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:36PM (#30434484)
    Precision in language has its place, and that place is in science, and science journalism. If the article were a poem about an IR satellite, I wouldn't be complaining. The two different phrasings have different meanings. Sorry for the redundancy though.
  • Re:Bathing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @04:27PM (#30435058) Journal

    Or an acid bath. (Which gets you very very very clean. ;)

    Bathing in baked beans [](strangely, safe for work) is said to be nutritious.

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