Nasa Launches Wise Telescope

12.15.09 |

NASA launched a new infrared space telescope on Monday that's expected to reveal near-Earth objects and peer into the outer-most galaxies of the universe. The 320-million-dollar Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, was launched from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California. Over the next ten months the telescope will orbit more than 300 miles above Earth scanning the universe for infrared radiation and heat given off by objects too far away, too cold, or simply not able to be seen due to dust. The WISE is expected to focus on a series of star clusters called untra-luminous galaxies that are about ten-billion light years from Earth. Through infrared light, the galaxies shine with more than a trillion times the brightness of the sun. Closer to home, the WISE will detect hundreds of unrecorded asteroids and comets that are considered "near-Earth objects." The launch was set for last Wednesday, but the mission was scrubbed when managers found an anomaly in the motion of a booster steering engine.