Once again I’m excited about a new piece of machinery. This time it is a space mission again. There have been several remarkable missions launched (many in very recent years), doing all sorts of excellent science, helping us discover all sorts of things about our universe, near and far, young and old. I’ve spoken about (and sometimes followed live) the launches of some of them here on the blog, or spoken about the science results they’ve helped produce. See the graphic on the right for some of them.
Well, very soon (possibly as early as December 9th), there will be the launch of WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer! I learned from my friend, colleague and fellow presenter on History Channel’s The Universe, JPL’s Amy Mainzer, who is a senior scientist and the deputy project scientist on the WISE mission, that they made a series of exciting videos about WISE for you to learn about the science that WISE will do and how it will go about doing it. There’s a whole YouTube channel devoted to it and so I will simply send you there to have a look.
There are several videos (including a press conference featuring John Morris (NASA), Bill Irace (JPL, WISE project manager), Amy Mainzer (JPL, WISE deputy project scientist, and who, you’ll recall, blogs at Cosmic Diaries), the mission’s PI, Ned Wright of UCLA (whose excellent website on cosmology I’ve pointed you to before), and Peter Eisenhardt (WISE project scientist, JPL) where they walk you through some of the mission simulation graphics). The “Celestial Treasure Hunt” video is a real treat, with Amy taking you through the whole range of things that WISE will be studying and looking for (including perhaps our own sun’s nearest neighbour – yes, nearer than Proxima Centauri – a brown dwarf star). It is here.