NASA’s NEOWISE Infrared Heritage Will Live On | Space

NASA’s near-Earth-object-hunting mission NEOWISE is nearing its conclusion. But its work will carry on with NASA’s next-generation infrared mission: NEO Surveyor.

After more than 14 successful years in space, NASA’s NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) mission will end on July 31. But while the mission draws to a close, another is taking shape, harnessing experience gained from NEOWISE: NASA’s NEO Surveyor (Near Earth Object Surveyor), the first purpose-built infrared space telescope dedicated to hunting hazardous near-Earth objects. Set for launch in late 2027, it’s a major step forward in the agency’s planetary defense strategy.

“After developing new techniques to find and characterize near-Earth objects hidden in vast quantities of its infrared survey data, NEOWISE has become key in helping us develop and operate NASA’s next-generation infrared space telescope. It is a precursor mission,” said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator of NEOWISE and NEO Surveyor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “NEO Surveyor will seek out the most difficult-to-find asteroids and comets that could cause significant damage to Earth if we don’t find them first.”

NEOWISE’s end of mission is tied to the Sun. About every 11 years, our star experiences a cycle of increased activity that peaks during a period called…

Source www.nasa.gov

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