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WISE in Hibernation

17 Feb 2011, 22:31 UTC
WISE in Hibernation NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) has been placed into indefinite hibernation.
The order was sent to the probe on the first of February and ends the current mission – NEOWISE.
WISE has surveyed the entire night’s sky several times in the past 13 months using its four infra-red radiation detectors, each calibrated to a specific wavelength.
For the detectors to operate effectively the spacecraft had to be kept at a frigid -260 degrees Celsius. Its liquid coolant ran out several months ago causing the spacecraft to warm to -200 degrees Celsius rendering its two longer wavelength (12 and 22 microns) detectors virtually useless.
After completing another sweep of the sky using only its two shorter wavelength detectors (3.6 and 4.6 microns) to look for asteroids and comets within our Solar System the space craft had completed its currently useful functions and has been deactivated.
The last image taken by the spacecraft is shown below-
The Final Picture Taken by WISE Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team
The image shows an area of the sky within the constellation Perseus.
WISE may be reactivated some time in the future if another purpose becomes evident.
You can read more here and here

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