For two more years, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) will continue its hunt for asteroids and comets – including objects that could pose a hazard to Earth.
On June 30, 2021 – on International Asteroid Day – NASA announced it was extending the NEOWISE mission for two years. This means the NEO-hunting space telescope will continue operations until June 2023.
Background: NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) spacecraft was an infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope active from December 2009 to February 2011. In September 2013 the spacecraft was assigned a new mission as NEOWISE to help find near-Earth asteroids and comets.
NEOWISE has provided an estimate of the size of over 1,850 NEOs, helping us better understand our nearest solar system neighbors.
As of March 2021, the mission has made 1,130,000 confirmed infrared observations of approximately 39,100 objects throughout the solar system since its restart in 2013.
NEOWISE provides a unique and critical capability in our global mission of planetary defense, by allowing us to rapidly measure the infrared emission