WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer)
WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), formerly known as NGSS (Next Generation Sky Survey), is a supercooled infrared space telescope designed to survey the entire sky, from 3.5 to 23 microns, with up to 500,000 times the sensitivity of previous missions. WISE is expected to result in the discovery of millions of new cosmic sources of infrared radiation including the most luminous and distant galaxies in the universe, the nearest stars to the Sun, most main belt asteroids larger than 3 km, brown dwarfs, and many circumstellar disks some of which are in the process of forming planetary systems. It will essentially complete the basic reconnaissance of the universe in mid-infrared wavelengths, providing a vast storehouse of knowledge that will endure for decades. This catalogue of data will also provide NASA's future James Webb Space Telescope with a comprehensive list of targets. WISE was chosen in 2003 by NASA for a Phase A study as a possible MIDEX (medium-class Explorer) flight and approved in 2004 to proceed into the preliminary design phase. It was launched on December 14, 2009.
JPL will manage WISE at a total cost to NASA of approximately $208 million. William Irace of JPL is the project manager. The cryogenic instrument will be built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft will be built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colorado. Science operations and data processing will take place at the JPL/Caltech Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, Pasadena. Calif.