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NASA revives asteroid-hunting spacecraft to identify threats, future missions

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nasa neowise
nasa neowise

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reviving a spacecraft that mapped more than half a billion celestial objects from 2010 to 2011, producing tens of thousands of stunning images before it was brought into hibernation.

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will come back into service next month with the goal of finding potentially hazardous asteroids as well as potential destinations for future missions. President Barack Obama has said he wants to send humans to an asteroid by 2025.

NASA's ambitious plans include a proposal to robotically capture a near-Earth asteroid and "redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it." The WISE, prefixed as NEOWISE for Near-Earth Object, will assist in this bold initiative.