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NASA Launches Solar-Powered Asteroid-Detecting Telescope

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On December 14, 2009 @ 12:00 pm In Solar Power | No Comments

sustainable design, green design, solar power, solar satellite, alternative energy, space exploration, wise, nasa, space, solar

This morning NASA launched the WISE [1] (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), a solar-powered infrared telescope that will scan the skies for earth-threatening asteroids and comets. We love covering all things green, but solar power plants [2] and eco-friendly architecture [3] mean very little if the planet has been obliterated by an asteroid – which is why NASA’s new satellite is so exciting.

sustainable design, green design, solar power, solar satellite, alternative energy, space exploration, wise, nasa, space, solar

The solar-powered WISE isn’t the first infrared spacecraft to travel through space — NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope [4] and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory [5] are also currently circling the heavens — but WISE is the only telescope to scan the entire sky looking for asteroids and comets that are threatening to Earth.

The spacecraft, which will spend the next 9 months in orbit, will cover the entire sky 1.5 times and take pictures every 11 seconds. All data will be downloaded 4 times daily via radio transmission to Earth-based computers. Eventually, NASA will have enough data to create a master image of the sky, complete with asteroids, comets, and other objects. Here’s hoping WISE doesn’t find anything too threatening!

+ NASA [6]

Via Smart Planet [7]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/nasa-launches-solar-powered-asteroid-detecting-telescope/

URLs in this post:

[1] WISE: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/dec/HQ_M09-229_WISE_launch_advisory.html

[2] solar power plants: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power/

[3] eco-friendly architecture: http://www.inhabitat.com/architecture/

[4] Spitzer Space Telescope: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/

[5] Herschel Space Observatory: http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=16

[6] + NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/launch/launch_blog.html

[7] Smart Planet: http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/nasa-to-launch-infrared-telescope-to-scan-entire-sky/2773/

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