[meteorite-list] Asteroid-Hunting Spacecraft Delivers a Second Year of Data (NEOWISE)

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 14:38:57 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201604052138.u35LcvTp015375_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Asteroid-Hunting Spacecraft Delivers a Second Year of Data
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
April 5, 2016

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission
has released its second year of survey data. The spacecraft has now characterized
a total of 439 NEOs since the mission was re-started in December 2013.
Of these, 72 were new discoveries.

Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged
by the gravitational attraction of the giant planets in our solar system
into orbits that allow them to enter Earth's neighborhood. Eight of the
objects discovered in the past year have been classified as potentially
hazardous asteroids (PHAs), based on their size and how closely their
orbits approach Earth.

With the release to the public of its second year of data, NASA's NEOWISE
spacecraft completed another milestone in its mission to discover, track
and characterize the asteroids and comets that approach closest to Earth.

Since beginning its survey in December 2013, NEOWISE has measured more
than 19,000 asteroids and comets at infrared wavelengths. More than 5.1
million infrared images of the sky were collected in the last year. A
new movie, based on the data collected, depicts asteroids and comets observed
so far by NEOWISE.

"By studying the distribution of lighter- and darker-colored material,
NEOWISE data give us a better understanding of the origins of the NEOs,
originating from either different parts of the main asteroid belt between
Mars and Jupiter or the icier comet populations," said James Bauer, the
mission's deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, California.

Originally called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the
spacecraft was launched in December 2009. It was placed in hibernation
in 2011 after its primary mission was completed. In September 2013, it
was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission: to assist
NASA's efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth
objects. NEOWISE also is characterizing previously known asteroids and
comets to provide information about their sizes and compositions.

"NEOWISE discovers large, dark, near-Earth objects, complementing our
network of ground-based telescopes operating at visible-light wavelengths.
On average, these objects are many hundreds of meters across," said Amy
Mainzer of JPL, NEOWISE principal investigator. NEOWISE has discovered
250 new objects since its restart, including 72 near-Earth objects and
four new comets.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the
NEOWISE mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado, built the spacecraft.
Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing
and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about NEOWISE, visit:


More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is at:


News Media Contact

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov

Received on Tue 05 Apr 2016 05:38:57 PM PDT

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