The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope, was active from December 2009 to February 2011. It was launched on December 14, 2009, and decommissioned/hibernated on February 17, 2011 when its transmitter was turned off. It performed an all-sky astronomical survey with images in 3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 μm wavelength range bands, over 10 months using a 40 cm (16 in) diameter infrared telescope in Earth-orbit. The initial mission length was limited by its hydrogen coolant, but a secondary post-cryogenic mission continued four more months with two of the four detectors remaining operational.
In September 2013, the spacecraft was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission: to assist NASA's efforts to identify and characterize the population of near-Earth objects. NEOWISE is also characterizing more distant populations of asteroids and comets to provide information about their sizes and compositions.
Principal Investigator, NEOWISE and NEO Surveyor, Professor
Robert (Bob) McMillan
Research Professor (Retired)