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This image shows an infrared view of the launch of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, on Dec. 14, 2009 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission will undergo a one-month checkout before beginning the most detailed survey yet of the entire sky in infrared light. Hundreds of millions of objects will populate its vast catalog, including dark asteroids, the closest "failed" stars and tremendously energetic galaxies.
JPL manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/wise, http://wise.astro.ucla.edu and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/wise.