After 14 Years of Guard Duty, NASA's Asteroid Hunter NEOWISE Calls It Quits.

Farewell to a Veteran Asteroid Hunter

NASA's NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) telescope, a dedicated asteroid hunter for 14 years, is nearing retirement. The mission is scheduled to conclude on July 31, 2024.

NEOWISE's Legacy

NEOWISE has been instrumental in discovering and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) - asteroids and comets that orbit close to our planet and pose a potential collision threat. This information is crucial for planetary defense efforts, allowing scientists to identify and track potentially hazardous objects.

The Future of NEO Detection

NEOWISE's reign is ending, but its legacy continues. The next generation asteroid hunter, the NEO Surveyor, is in development with a planned launch in September 2027. This new mission will focus on finding even fainter and more difficult-to-spot NEOs.

Looking Upward

While NEOWISE is reaching its conclusion, humanity's quest to safeguard Earth from celestial threats continues. The NEO Surveyor mission promises to build upon NEOWISE's success, bolstering our planetary defense capabilities.

The key points are:

  • NEOWISE is retiring after 14 years of service. It was a space telescope designed to find asteroids and comets that could threaten Earth. 
  • It will burn up in Earth's atmosphere in late 2024 or early 2025.
  • There is a replacement mission called NEO Surveyor planned for launch in 2027.

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