Space-Based Infrared Discovery and Characterization of Minor Planets with NEOWISE

2015 •

Authors • Mainzer, A. • Bauer, J. • Grav, T. • Cutri, R. • Masiero, J. • McMillan, R. S. • Nugent, C. • Sonnett, S. • Stevenson, R. • Walker, R. • Wright, E.

Abstract • NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, designed to survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, has proven a valuable means of discovering and characterizing the small bodies in our solar system. Modifications to the mission's science data processing system, collectively known as NEOWISE, have allowed new minor planets to be discovered using this space-based infrared telescope. Using radiometric thermal models, physical properties such as diameter and albedo have been derived for more than 158,000 asteroids, including approximately 700 near-Earth objects and 160 comets. Following the conclusion of its primary mission, the WISE spacecraft was placed into hibernation in February 2011. Now renamed NEOWISE, the spacecraft was brought out of hibernation in 2013 to continue the search for near-Earth objects.


IPAC Authors


Joe Masiero

Associate Scientist