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NASA WISE Satellite Blasts Into Space

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-sean-enjoyed-it-anna dept.

NASA 139

coondoggie writes "After a three day delay, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer this morning blasted into space courtesy of a Delta II rocket and will soon begin bathing the cosmos with infrared light, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. The space agency says the WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The idea behind the spacecraft is to uncover objects never seen before, including the coolest stars, the universe's most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets."

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139 comments

That's a long wait (5, Funny)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30432954)

for the infrared flashbulb light to bounce back. Plus, won't this contribute to galactic warming? NASA under Barack Obama is clearly in league with the Italians who are out to destroy America's universe.

Re:That's a long wait (2, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434002)

Ah, so that's why someone was angry enough to go break Berlusconi's nose...

Nasa is indeed WISE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30432962)

Haha, get it? I am so wise I got this FP without trolling about homosexual negroid human beings. FP FP FP FAP

Beautiful stars better see... (2, Funny)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433006)

I am only interested in the coolest, most popular, stars.

Re:Beautiful stars better see... (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433366)

I am only interested in the coolest, most popular, stars.

... combined with the well known ability of IR cameras to "see thru" clothing ...

Bathing? (3, Insightful)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433034)

Is it really "bathing" the cosmos? Don't most orbiting observatories just have sensors, not emitters?

Re:Bathing? (2, Insightful)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433096)

Maybe they meant "and will soon begin bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos"

Re:Bathing? (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433276)

Maybe they meant "and will soon begin bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos"

Impossible! Nobody ever mistypes, and nobody ever means things in a non-literal fashion. Your explanation, while seemingly reasonable, fails to account for this!

Clearly what they were referring to is the fact that the WISE observatory is neither at absolute zero, nor a perfect absorber of infrared. Ergo, WISE will both emit and reflect infrared light, which will subsequently bathe the cosmos. Obviously that's useless for the telescope's observations, but it's still true.

Though "bathe" probably isn't the right choice of words either. Infrared light is not sufficient to get you clean. Just an FYI to my fellow slashdotters prior to any family gatherings they may be attending this holiday season. ;)

Re:Bathing? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433906)

Nobody ever mistypes, and nobody ever means things in a non-literal fashion

But people do craft egregiously wrong summaries to ensure that there is something to talk about in response to it. Without that we'd get nothing but misguided comments about how the poster has thought of a defect in the technology/idea/whatever that the people doing it have not, dull variants on standard joke templates, rants against the Obama/Bush administration or American foreign policy, etc.

Re:Bathing? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434198)

Infrared light is not sufficient to get you clean.

The same is true for a mud bath. (Which gets you dirty.)
Or an acid bath. (Which gets you very very very clean. ;)
But it’s still called a bath.

Yes (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434578)

Typically a "bath" [google.com] is a complete immersion in a liquid. The result desired varies from chemical treatment to cleaning to coating. The idea is a complete, no exposed surface left untouched, coverage.

Re:Yes (1)

charleste (537078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434766)

Ergo, a "mud bath" is incorrect. You are immersing yourself not in a liquid, but in a heterogeneous solution of dirt and liquid. Just sayin' - based on what you were saying. :-)

Re:Bathing? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434890)

Infrared light is not sufficient to get you clean. Just an FYI to my fellow slashdotters prior to any family gatherings they may be attending this holiday season. ;)

No, but it disinfects... that isn’t good enough?

Re:Bathing? (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433300)

No. It is a passive device, as you suspect.

However, TFS can’t be entirely blamed for this mistake. It was copied and pasted directly from TFS.

Better article [nasa.gov] – from the horse’s mouth, as it were. Some interesting tibits:

Because the instrument sees the infrared, or heat, signatures of objects, it must be kept at chilly temperatures. Its coldest detectors are less than minus 447 degrees Fahrenheit.

"WISE needs to be colder than the objects it's observing," said Ned Wright of UCLA, the mission's principal investigator. "Now we're ready to see the infrared glow from hundreds of thousands of asteroids, and hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies."

WISE will see the infrared colors of the whole sky with sensitivity and resolution far better than the last infrared sky survey, performed 26 years ago. The space telescope will spend nine months scanning the sky once, then one-half the sky a second time. The primary mission will end when WISE's frozen hydrogen runs out, about 10 months after launch.

Just about everything in the universe glows in infrared, which means the mission will catalog a variety of astronomical targets. Near-Earth asteroids, stars, planet-forming disks and distant galaxies all will be easy for the mission to see. Hundreds of millions of objects will populate the WISE atlas, providing astronomers and other space missions, such as NASA's planned James Webb Space Telescope, with a long-lasting infrared roadmap.

Re:Bathing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433340)

Fahrenheit in space. Stop being silly, NASA.

Re:Bathing? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433548)

You want to use Celsius? Launch your own damn satellite...

Re:Bathing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433828)

Scientists use Kelvin, especially that close to absolute zero.

Re:Bathing? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434362)

From the WISE Launch Press Kit (1.97 MB - PDF)/a>: [berkeley.edu]

The mission’s sensitive infrared telescope and detectors are kept chilled inside a Thermos-like tank of solid hydrogen, called a cryostat. This prevents WISE from picking up the heat, or infrared, signature of its own instrument. The solid hydrogen, called a cryogen, is expected to last about 10 months and will keep the WISE telescope a chilly 12 Kelvin (minus 438 degrees Fahrenheit).

Happy now?

Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433678)

I skimmed the summary not even noticing the stupid "bathing" thing', and then guess what 99% of the comments here are about?

Every time a summary has the tiniest little compiler error in it, no matter what it's about, any interest that might have been gleaned from TFA is lost. All you karma whores storm in like a Black Friday Walmart crowd trying to score your 5, Funny first posts and you fill up this board with this redundantly unfunny goofballing- "huh huh huh it's bathing the cosmos not the other way around huh huh huh"! My heart pains for any infrared astronomer out there drowning in this shit.

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (4, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433878)

I skimmed the summary not even noticing the stupid "bathing" thing', and then guess what 99% of the comments here are about?

Please hand in your geek card on your way out.

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434364)

not error, misconception. Engineers and scientists hate those. Simplifying for a general audience while still educating is a grand thing, but care to be accurate still taken. So be glad we give a shit,

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434842)

So be glad we give a shit,

Arrrgh!!! Don't leave us in suspense like that!

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434372)

All you karma whores storm in like a Black Friday Walmart crowd trying to score your 5, Funny first posts

You must be new here. /oblig.

"Funny" moderation does not affect karma.

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (1)

kooky45 (785515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434378)

It's a shame the wording of the summary is wrong because on first reading it sounded like the satellite will be bathing its surrounding in infra-red light to detect nearby objects like space debris, which I thought sounded quite fascinating. Then to discover it's just an infra-red telescope made it far less interesting.

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (1, Interesting)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434484)

Precision in language has its place, and that place is in science, and science journalism. If the article were a poem about an IR satellite, I wouldn't be complaining. The two different phrasings have different meanings. Sorry for the redundancy though.

Re:Another sad moment for Slashdot commenting (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434582)

"Every time a summary has the tiniest little compiler error in it..."

You do realize that you are addressing a large population of programmers, right?

Its is their JOB to notice such "tiniest little compiler error(s)". If they don't, rockets end up underwater instead of in space, people end up dead, Microsoft makes billions and programmers lose jobs.

You must be in marketing...or management.

Not bathing the cosmos (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433036)

I'm pretty sure we're talking passive sensors here, so it's not going to be "bathing the cosmos with infrared light" as much as it's going to be bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos. If scientists hadn't stopped writing in Latin, we wouldn't have these little word order screwups, now would we?

But it's good it will be finding the coolest stars. Aside from giving us new insights into the age of the universe and stellar evolution, it'll give NASA something to boast about on Facebook.

Re:Not bathing the cosmos (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433118)

I'm pretty sure we're talking passive sensors here, so it's not going to be "bathing the cosmos with infrared light" as much as it's going to be bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos.

Technically, it will retain residual heat from Earth, and as it emits that extremely weak infrared radiation, the universe will be eventually bathed in it. Now that reminds me of the time my family had a large pepperoni pizza with luscious ripe tomato sauce, delicious mozzarella cheese, and freshly made pepperoni that was so hot you could practically get a suntan just putting your face near it. (Temporarily filling in for PizzaAnalogyGuy.)

Re:Not bathing the cosmos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433412)

Freshly made pepperoni? Yuck...
I prefer aged pepperoni.. Has far more flavor.

Re:Not bathing the cosmos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434110)

Maybe he meant freshly sliced pepperoni...

Re:Not bathing the cosmos (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433384)

I for one welcome images of our Great Old Overlords bathed in infra-red light!

Re:Not bathing the cosmos (1)

idji (984038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433586)

I think we have found the cause here not just of global warming but of cosmological warming (TM) as well.

Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (3, Informative)

Grokmoo (1180039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433054)

The summary says it will be "bathing the cosmos with infrared light". What is this supposed to mean? The spacecraft will be detecting light, but will not be emitting it in any substantial quantity. In fact, WISE will be emitting very little infrared light at all (even for a spacecraft), as it is being kept cool for the next 10 months or so with an onboard supply of solid hydrogen.

Re:Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433658)

I staggered at that too, read it a few times before I realized it really DOESN'T make any sense.

Moreover: "scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months" wha...? Why not just say "it will scan the sky in 6 months" (per TFA).

Re:Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433890)

"scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months" wha...? Why not just say "it will scan the sky in 6 months" (per TFA).

Because it’ll scan the sky in 6 months, then scan about half of it again in 3 months before it runs out of the coolant needed to keep its sensors cold.

In other words, it will scan the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months.

Re:Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434504)

Because it'll scan the sky in 6 months, then scan about half of it again in 3 months before it runs out of the coolant needed to keep its sensors cold.

-429 degrees Fahrenheit is about 17 Kelvin.
Couldn't they just open the sensors up to vaccuum and keep it cool?

Re:Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434646)

Vacuum isn’t cold – that’s a myth.

Heat is lost by convection and radiation. In convection, the warm surface of the object heats the cooler fluid (gas or liquid) surrounding it; the warmed fluid can then be replaced by more of the cooler fluid (either by naturally occurring currents, or deliberately) and the process continues. Radiation, on the other hand, is the gradual release of energy in the form of photons from any surface that is above absolute zero.

Convection is much more rapid than radiation. However, in a vacuum, convection doesn’t exist.

A vacuum thermos illustrates this perfectly. The thermos still loses heat by radiation, but the vacuum stops the convection. For this reason it keeps hot things hot (or cold things cold) for a long time.

The main problem, though, is the solar radiation. Since the device is powered by solar energy, you can’t shade it... and you have to get rid of the excess heat. The sun-lit surface of the moon, even though it is in a near-vacuum, is hot enough to boil water.

Cooking without gas (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434670)

Vacuum is a pretty good thermal insulator. And running electricity through detectors is a pretty good way to heat them up. Without many cold molecules around to hit those sensors they'll have a hard time dissipating that heat.

So, no.

Re:Bathing the cosmos with infrared light? (0)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434230)

It makes sense when you consider it was written by a tech journalist for a computer trade magazine [networkworld.com]. Apparently, understanding basic science is no longer a prerequisite for reporting on it.

And shame on the editors, too, for not catching it. It's pretty damn obvious that telescopes don't bathe anything, especially not the entire cosmos.

Bathing the cosmos in infrared light? (0, Redundant)

kawabago (551139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433056)

Bathing the cosmos in infrared light? Did NASA launch an intergalactic flash light?

Re:Bathing the cosmos in infrared light? (1)

lammy (1557325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433138)

I think they stole the blurb from the exaggeration-prone marketing folks over at Universal Remote Controls.

Re:Bathing the cosmos in infrared light? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433266)

An orbital space heater, more like. As if the poles weren't getting warm enough as it is...

Target the Universe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433062)

More likely to turn around and scan the earth for "the glow of hundreds of millions of objects."

Bathing the cosmos?? (0, Redundant)

frooddude (148993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433068)

Seriously coondoggie, that's not how it works. This is an IR detector. Speed of light limitations, not to mention power requirements for umping enough IR into the sky to see any reflections, I mean... wow.

Re:Bathing the cosmos?? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433370)

Hey... give him credit. He managed to copy and paste directly from TFA without making it any more wrong than it already was.

Or maybe we should give the credit to CmdrTaco. It’s a hard call.

Spy sat? (0)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433072)

So how long till this thing is pointed downward?

Re:Spy sat? (0)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433106)

My bad, I was stupid enough to think the summery was correct and that this would emit IR light.
I was thinking it could see in the surface in the dark.

Re:Spy sat? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433516)

A receiver this sensitive wouldn’t need an infrared emitter to see in the dark.

Of course, once its hydrogen coolant runs out, it might not be sensitive enough anymore. Impossible to say, without having any technical details on the device.

Another dilemma would be whether or not it can even focus on near objects.

bathing the cosmos in IR? (1)

Luxifer (725957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433082)

um, I hope that isn't what it's supposed to do, because if it's an active IR system, it's gonna be waiting billions of years to get a return signal.
I think what you mean is it'll be detecting the IR that is already out there.

Let's all pile on the doofus who wrote the title! (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433122)

...will soon begin bathing the cosmos with infrared light...

Uhm, yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not true ;-)

Scan Rate (1)

tprox (621523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433134)

Wouldn't that scan complete one sky in 6 months? It's kind of strange to report that it will do 1.5 in 9.

Re:Scan Rate (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433150)

I believe it's mission is to do 1.5 times though, no more no less, at this current juncture, so it's not strange to report it that way.

Re:Scan Rate (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433204)

It may start repeating sections that it has done before it finishes the whole thing. (I didn't RTFA yet.)

Re:Scan Rate (3, Informative)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433242)

Ah, I'm wrong. From TFA:

"After a one-month checkout period, WISE will spend six months mapping the whole sky. It will then begin a second scan to uncover even more objects and to look for any changes in the sky that might have occurred since the first survey, according to NASA. This second partial sky survey will end about three months later when the spacecraft's frozen-hydrogen cryogen runs out."

Re:Scan Rate (4, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433214)

Wouldn't that scan complete one sky in 6 months? It's kind of strange to report that it will do 1.5 in 9.

It's because WISE has a limited life expentancy of 10 months. In that 10 months its expected to cover the whole sky 1.5 times.

The life expentancy is only 10 months because the instrument needs to be cooled, which is done with solid hydrogen. Once the hydrogen is gone, the primary mission is over. Not sure if they have a plan for afterwards and can get secondary uses out of it.

Re:Scan Rate (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433784)

Not sure if they have a plan for afterwards and can get secondary uses out of it.

They should have set it on a path to impact something (moon, asteroid, deathstar,...) in 11+ months.

Re:Scan Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434040)

But what if the Death Star's shield generator isn't disabled in time? Perhaps they can change the path at the proper time later (it probably has some maneuverability for minor adjustments).

Re:Scan Rate (2, Interesting)

glop (181086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433228)

The satellite only has enough cryogen to keep cool for 1.5 sky surveys. Hence the summary.
I wonder if the satellite can still work without cryogen... I suppose it's going to be much noisier, but how much?

Re:Scan Rate (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433236)

That's only true if the scanning rate is constant. Don't assume stuff because it makes an ass of you.

Re:Scan Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30434526)

>Don't assume stuff because it makes an ass of you.

There's nothing like the zeal of the newly-converted...

This satellite will cause massive disruption!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433148)

This satellite will constantly change the channels of millions of models of television sets.

Not to mention contribute to global warming.

And if it emits too much infrared radiation, it may even set the Van Allen belt on fire!

Re:This satellite will cause massive disruption!!! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433408)

OMG so it is this satellite that kick starts the apocalypse and rapture that will occur in 2012!!!

Quick get your guns and bibles!

Mod me STUPID. I'll bite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433998)

Where did you infer a link between this satellite and "apocalypse and rapture"? And where does that indicate as to being 2012?

IF (it's in the movie "2012") THEN
      just say "The 2012 movie" '//****I haven't had a chance to see it yet. I don't want it to be spoiled.
ELSE
      WTF?
END IF

SETI Application? (2, Interesting)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433272)

I think it would be interesting to see if this thing picks up any sign of ETI... You could make the argument that initial communications for ETI might be in the infrared spectrum, as this is what is required to search for asteroids that might wipe out your home world. Any sufficiently intelligent species should have such an early warning system, indeed - you might see that as a necessary capability for an "intelligent" species.

Red and Brown Dwarf companion stars... (2, Insightful)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433296)

I wonder if this will find any stars closer to the earth that proxima centari?

It would be interesting if it found a brown or red dwarf companion to our star which orbits out beyond the ort cloud. An Ion or VASIMIR powered probe to this star would be cool and feasible even if it were up to 1/2 a light year away.

What would everyone think if we found out that our solar system is just another binary star system amonst the trillions and quadrillions of other multiple star systems out there....

 

Ask a silly question... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433336)

What would everyone think if we found out that our solar system is just another binary star system amonst the trillions and quadrillions of other multiple star systems out there...

The average person wouldn't give a gnat's fart, and most wouldn't have a clue what you are even talking about.

Re:Ask a silly question... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433480)

Yeah but kids will need a new Mnemonic device and the star will have to be named. Unless we just call it "Sol II".

What sort of name would we call this new star, one idea would be to call it Apollo after the sun god who drove his chariot across the heaven during the day, but would that be appropriate for a star barely visible to the naked eye?

And just imagine the flood of new disaster movies that could be made about this new stellar companion blowing up or being blowed up by aliens etc.....

It would be a bigger thing than you know.

Re:Red and Brown Dwarf companion stars... (1)

Ipeunipig (934414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433538)

That would be "Billions and billions" according to a certain TV series host.

Re:Red and Brown Dwarf companion stars... (5, Insightful)

diablovision (83618) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433806)

Given that Pluto orbits at close to 1/1000th of a lightyear from the Sun (up to 7 billion km versus about 10 trillion km in a lightyear), I think if there were a companion star at 1/2 a lightyear, we'd probably have been able to infer its presence by its gravitational disturbance on the outermost planets' orbits. Also, most binary systems have very tight orbits between the companion stars--a binary system with 1/2 a lightyear distance might be even more unusual than a unary star system.

I suppose it is possible the Sun has a companion out there, but seems very unlikely to me.

Re:Red and Brown Dwarf companion stars... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434264)

Not sure how far away a brown dwarf could be from the sun and yet still be gravitationally bound to it....

Is there a limit to this?

Re:Red and Brown Dwarf companion stars... (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434482)

You can conceptualize this by considering another star in the distance. Two adjacent gravity wells. Your BD is either
  1. In Sol's Well: moving slowly and close enough to be orbiting Sol
  2. In the Other Star's Well: Moving slowly and close enough to be orbiting the other star.
  3. moving too fast to be bound (over escape velocity) with either star and is careening past them both.

You can picture a spot between two stars where the BD might teeter if it were standing still. It's not. Whereever that inflexion point is, it is close to the 'limit of being bound' of which you speak.

Hey, look, another shitty NetworkWorld.com article (1, Flamebait)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433304)

Submitted by one of their lackeys, or even worse, the author.

Mods, please start using the 'redundant' modifier. (0, Offtopic)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433380)

...or we'll have a completely useless and repetitive discussion about how badly written the article is, and see nothing about the actual issue itself. I've waded all the way down the page in search of an actual insightful post and have so far been disappointed.

I mean, so TFS/TFA/whatever screwed up. OK! Enough already! I Fucking get it! Now can we move on?

Jeez!

Why pick such a bad article? (4, Insightful)

Eevee (535658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433558)

Instead of going to some half-assed article from networkworld, why aren't we linking to the actual NASA WISE [nasa.gov] site? Original sources, people. It's not that hard.

I am a journalist (3, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433810)

I am a journalist, and I will not be denied the right to use "bathing the cosmos". It is, in my view, and elegant turn of phrase. Please do not bother me with all this science nonsense about sensors.

Now excuse me, I have to get off to my 2nd job. It's not easy being a journalist these days. The paper could go belly-up any time. I moonlight writing advertising copy for real estate agents. There are tiny cabins that need to be described as "cozy", and houses needing tree work that need to be described as "nestled in the woods".

Re:I am a journalist (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433912)

Please do not bother me with all this science nonsense

And you wonder why people aren't interested in anything so-called journalist have to say, unless it's crap like celebrity gossip.

What's the contingency for these missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30433840)

I know with the Mars rovers the cost of a second rover was small change compared to the development cost of the original. The launch vehicle is expensive, of course, but it was considered cheaper to launch two missions and hope one succeeded than launching one that could fail and mean all the money was wasted.

What sort of contingency do they have for sats like this? Do they just fabricate another one and try again in a year or two?

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (1)

dikdik (1696426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433864)

Contingency? We don't have no contingency. Seriously though: looks like the only options are to either hope someone else's similar but not quite equivalent satellite generates data they can use; or, spend the money to build and launch a replacement. By the way, they spent 7 years building, testing and waiting for launch, not 2.

sometimes "hobbyists" can make discoveries (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433876)

A lot of this depends on how timely a given probe team makes the data available on the net. For example, earlier this year hobbyists measured out of ring plane bumps on Saturns rings during Saturn's vernal equinox. Then the rings were edge-on to the Sun and tiny out-of-plane excursions cast measurable shadows on the reset of the ring.

A counter-example the Kepler project. They are NOT putting raw data on the web yet for the public to anyalyze. They probably have a private website somewhere with the data.

final term of the drake equation (4, Interesting)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433980)

One of the most melancholy facts about astromony is that that while at this time and for the near future we have a civilization capable of supporting advanced orbital telescopes, the solar system is currently positioned pretty much in the center of glactic plane--safer from intergalactic bombardment by cosmic rays, but also our view is clouded by interference from so many local objects that we cannot see as much, or as far, or as far back, as would be if the solar system happened to be in the part of its phase where its orbit kind of bobs up or down out of the galactic plan for a few hundred thousand years.

The next time we'll have a clear view will be about 17 million years from now. That's for the northern sky. Add another 35 million years to that before we get a clear view to the south. I hope we're still here by then.

Re:final term of the drake equation (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434436)

VASIMIR powered asteroid sized colonies with IR telescopes launched in opposite directions parallel to the galactic axis.

Re:final term of the drake equation (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434752)

Better: quantum-vacuum powered asteroid size colonies with IR telescopes launched in opposite directions parallel to the galactic axis.

Meanwhie on the sister launch pad... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434176)

NASA UNWISE Satellite Blasts Into Earth.

Comment: “I’m more of a down-to-earth kind of satellite.”

More opposite news here on the opposite network. Stay tuned!

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