NASA Podcasts

Space Rock Census
05.24.10
 
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Title - WISE

Amy Mainzer: WISE is taking a census of our solar neighborhood.

Title - Amy Mainzer. NEOWISE Principal Investigator Mainzer: And no census would be complete without meeting your nearest neighbors.

Title - Mercury. Venus. Earth. Mars. Jupiter. Mainzer: The video that you’re seeing is a progression of the WISE survey as we go around the sun. You can imagine you’re just sort of looking down on the solar system.

Title - near-Earth objects. Mainzer: The red dots that you see are near-Earth objects. WISE has found several dozen new near-Earth objects.

Title - Numbers reflect tally as of May 10, 2010 Mainzer: And they range in size from about as small as a decent-sized house to as large as a smallish mountain.

There about 150 green dots in the animation.

Title - previously-known near-Earth objects. Mainzer: And these represent previously-known near-Earth objects that WISE has observed.

Title - comets Mainzer: The yellow blocks represent comets. WISE has observed several dozen so far. We’ve also discovered around a dozen new comets.

Most of what you’re seeing in the animation are white dots. Asteroids. WISE has observed 50,000 asteroids to date.

Title - Numbers reflect tally as of May 10, 2010 Mainzer: About 9,000 are new discoveries. Most of the white dots are between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Title - main-belt asteroids Mainzer: And these are the main-belt asteroids. But you can also see that there are 2 blobs of white dots that lie in the orbit of Jupiter.

Title - Jupiter Mainzer: These are called the Trojan asteroids. One blob is gravitationally anchored to Jupiter ahead of it. And the other blob is sort of following behind it in its orbit.

These always stay 60 degrees away from Jupiter. Why are they there? Are they the same?

With the WISE mission we can now not only find new asteroids and comets, but we can characterize them.

We can learn more about their sizes, their reflectivities, their compositions and the properties of their surfaces.

While this is the end of the animation for today, it’s not the end of the story. We expect to continue surveying through at least October.

So, stay tuned! Because who knows what we might find?

Title - NASA. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. California Institute of Technology.

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