A Formerly Hibernating Spacecraft Joins The Asteroid Hunt
First launched in 2009, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft has been asleep in polar orbit for two years. Next month, it'll be turned back on to help locate potentially dangerous near-Earth objects.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
To help in the search for asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs), NASA has announced that it will bring the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft out of a two-year hibernation next month. The craft, which is still in a polar orbit, will spend at least the next three years looking for objects that could pose a danger to Earth as well as those that could become candidates for NASA's asteroid retrieval initiative.
What's the Big Idea?
First launched at the end of 2009, WISE's initial mission involved scanning the skies in infrared light, searching for hard-to-find objects both near and far and capturing over 2.7 million images before two of its four infrared cameras quit working. With the remaining two, it performed a complete scan of the solar system's main asteroid belt before going into hibernation in early 2011. By calling the spacecraft into service again, NASA associate administrator John Grunsfield says the agency "is now extending [WISE's] record of success...Reactivating WISE is an excellent example of how we are leveraging existing capabilities across the agency to achieve our goal."
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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