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NASA reactivates WISE spacecraft for asteroid search
Posted: Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 8:01 AM ET (1201 GMT)
WISE spacecraft illustration (NASA) NASA announced Wednesday it is reactivating a dormant space telescope to resume its search for near Earth objects (NEOs). The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft will be turned back on next month for a three-year mission to search for and study NEOs under a project called NEOWISE. Scientists expect WISE's 40-centimeter telescope and instruments will be able to discover 150 NEOs and characterize 2,000 others, data which could help NASA identify a target for its proposed asteroid redirect mission. NASA launched WISE in late 2009 on a more general infrared astronomy mission, observing stars and galaxies as well as asteroids during a primary mission that lasted until February 2011. The spacecraft's survey of asteroids then, also called NEOWISE, led to the discovery of 135 NEOs and 34,000 main belt asteroids.
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