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NASA Universe-Watching Satellite Losing Its Cool

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the grandma-made-it-a-sweater dept.

NASA 153

coondoggie writes "NASA this week said its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE satellite is heating up — not a good thing when your primary mission instrument needs to be kept cold to work. According to NASA, WISE has two coolant tanks that keep the spacecraft's normal operating temperature at 12 Kelvin (minus 438 degrees Fahrenheit). The outer, secondary tank is now depleted, causing the temperature to increase. One of WISE's infrared detectors, the longest-wavelength band most sensitive to heat, stopped producing useful data once the telescope warmed to 31 Kelvin (minus 404 degrees Fahrenheit)."

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153 comments

hi (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229338)

first post!

Orbit (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229340)

Sometime in it's orbit, would it drop down to 12K? Meaning, could it be still used when and if it cools down enough - at least until someone can get up their to replenish it?

Re:Orbit (2, Interesting)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229370)

depends on whether the primary source of the offending heat is internal or external.

(no i did not RTFA)

Re:Orbit (1, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229524)

depends on whether the primary source of the offending heat is internal or external.

(no i did not RTFA)

A real shame there. You didn't even read the summary. It's not really a source of offending heat that's the issue so much as a lack of proper cooling. The outer, secondary cooling tank is depleted. The primary one is still functional but apparently it's not enough to keep it at optimal temperature.

Re:Orbit (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229612)

It's not really a source of offending heat that's the issue so much as a lack of proper cooling.

Yeah, and it's not the fall that kills you, it's the short, sudden stop at the end.

A real shame there. You didn't even read the summary.

It's really a shame you don't understand that there's no difference between the two. Hint: If you don't have heating, you don't need cooling.

Re:Orbit (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229784)

There's a neat thing in logic... the knowledge to know the things you can change, accepting the things you cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Re:Orbit (2, Funny)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230496)

My take on this: God grant me the alcohol to accept the things I cannot change, the ammo to change the things I can and the inablity to tell the difference...

Re:Orbit (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230040)

Hint: If you don't have heating, you don't need cooling.

Logically very true, but given that this is a satellite whose purpose is to collect sensor data then the heat generation must be assumed. Heat is a given byproduct of running the sensors. NASA could solve the problem very quickly by just shutting down the sensors. But that defeats the purpose of putting the thing into space in the first place.

Though the GP might have been better informed by reading the article, but the point was valid. The problem is not that the spacecraft is generating more heat than designed, the problem is that its cooling capacity has diminished.

Re:Orbit (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230080)

It's not really a source of offending heat that's the issue so much as a lack of proper cooling.

Yeah, and it's not the fall that kills you, it's the short, sudden stop at the end.

A real shame there. You didn't even read the summary.

It's really a shame you don't understand that there's no difference between the two. Hint: If you don't have heating, you don't need cooling.

You're drawing some irrelevant conclusions there. You're absolutely correct that if you don't have heating you don't need cooling, but there is heat and cooling is necessary because of it.

They're using solid hydrogen to achieve the optimum operating temperature. NASA was only able to include a limited amount of it and one of the tanks is now empty; that is the problem. Hopefully this clears things up for you.

Re:Orbit (1, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230564)

You're drawing some irrelevant conclusions there. You're absolutely correct that if you don't have heating you don't need cooling, but there is heat and cooling is necessary because of it.

You are being a toolbag here, because I said nothing about cooling not being required, nor heating not occurring. In fact, if you read between the lines slightly, you can see that I believe that heating is occurring and that cooling is necessary, because my comment makes no sense otherwise. Kind of like yours.

They're using solid hydrogen to achieve the optimum operating temperature. NASA was only able to include a limited amount of it and one of the tanks is now empty; that is the problem. Hopefully this clears things up for you.

I knew all of this before I even commented. Hopefully you go fuck yourself.

Re:Orbit (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231004)

To be honest, I don't believe you've said much of anything. We can debate about what you meant to say or implied all day long but you're just taking things further off track.

That aside, I think it's great that NASA has been successful with this project and I can't wait to see the pictures.

Re:Orbit (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229498)

Like the Hubble it's probably a lot cheaper to replace it when it finally breaks than fix or upgrade it. You don't save money by sending a manned space crew to replenish it when you could just send up another one on a rocket. Which is expensive, but frequently less so than trying to fix things in space. Not to mention less risky to personnel involved.

This is why SOFIA rocks! (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231316)

No need for a disposable satellite if you want to do IR astronomy. It flies in the tropopause above the atmospheric water vapor so the sky is transparent. There's no need to worry about running out of cryogen. Just keep enough for the mission on the plane, and refill with each landing.

So that's like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229360)

I don't understand your numbers. I talk in Celsius.

Re:So that's like... (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229590)

I don't understand your numbers. I talk in Celsius.

I talk in English myself.

NASA is US-based, Slashdot is US-based, and the US uses Fahrenheit as the common measure of temperature. As for Kelvin, it's very easy for the rest of us to convert it to Celsius.

Re:So that's like... (2, Informative)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229640)

I talk in English myself.

The entire British Commonwealth uses Celsius.

Re:So that's like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229750)

I think you'll find it is true that the US 'left' the Commonwealth some time ago.

Re:So that's like... (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230554)

I think you'll find it is true that the US 'left' the Commonwealth some time ago.

I did not mean to imply the United States is still part of the Commonwealth.

Re:So that's like... (2, Insightful)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229928)

The entire British Commonwealth uses Celsius.

Language wise, English equals British about as much as Spanish equals Spain.

In other words, lots of countries were subjugated many hundreds of years ago by the two empires. English is simply a footprint from that period of time, as is Spanish. Since most of the countries are now separate entities and disparate, logic would dictate that the ousted countries' activities would hold no bearing on said countries' activities.

Re:So that's like... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230264)

Even more interesting, there's a lot of people in Spain who don't speak Spanish. They speak Galician, Basque, or Catalan. Also interesting, there really isn't any such language as "Spanish". The language referred to by that name is really called Castillian, only one of the languages of Spain.

Re:So that's like... (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230538)

The entire British Commonwealth uses Celsius.

Language wise, English equals British about as much as Spanish equals Spain.

In other words, lots of countries were subjugated many hundreds of years ago by the two empires. English is simply a footprint from that period of time, as is Spanish. Since most of the countries are now separate entities and disparate, logic would dictate that the ousted countries' activities would hold no bearing on said countries' activities.

a) The British Commonwealth includes the United Kingdom.
b) The British Commonwealth equates to 'the English-speaking world' more legitimately than the United States alone.

Re:So that's like... (0)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230746)

b) The British Commonwealth equates to 'the English-speaking world' more legitimately than the United States alone

Are you bloody kidding? The US, has, by far, the greatest number of primary and first language English speakers than the rest of the world combined. KTHXBIBI.

Re:So that's like... (0)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230828)

b) The British Commonwealth equates to 'the English-speaking world' more legitimately than the United States alone

Are you bloody kidding? The US, has, by far, the greatest number of primary and first language English speakers than the rest of the world combined. KTHXBIBI.

Not to mention the fact that the US is leading the way in multiple cultural fronts: technology, entertainment, etc.

If we didn't have the most speakers, we'd probably still have the most influence over the development of the language.

Re:So that's like... (4, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229712)

But NASA is a scientific entity. We use SI units. Fahrenheit is, as you put it, just a common measure of temperature.

Re:So that's like... (1)

jbssm (961115) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230084)

But NASA is a scientific entity. We use SI units.

Unfortunately it's not that simple. Astronomers and astrophysicists don't use SI, we use cgs (centimetre, gram, second) in Europe. I'm not sure about USA.

Re:So that's like... (2, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230574)

Astronomers use a hodge-podge of units in different systems. Cgs units are common, but for the really fun things we tend to use units like solar masses, parsecs, magnitudes, and foes (although that one never really caught on).

Re:So that's like... (3, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230508)

Frankly, this whole discussion is moot. -404F isn't any more or less informative to most people than -242C. They're both "really really fucking cold".

The only useful unit for temperatures that low is K.

Re:So that's like... (3, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231356)

Frankly, this whole discussion is moot. -404F isn't any more or less informative to most people than -242C. They're both "really really fucking cold".

The only useful unit for temperatures that low is K.

It seems the only thing missing here is u. FCK!

Re:So that's like... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230288)

If you don't understand Kelvins, then you're no geek and you have no business on this site. Anyone with a half-decent college education, who took Chemistry in college, would understand Kelvins.

Aliens (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229364)

I'll bet it's because of the alien heating lasers. They don't want us to see too much/far.

Re:Aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229954)

CAN'T YOU SEE IT'S GLOBAL WARMING!? THE END IS NEAR!!!!!one!!!

(Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.)

It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Informative)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229366)

If you read the article it says that the solid hydrogen was expected to disappear about 10 months after launch, and it was launched in Dec 2009. Now it's 8/10.

What's so remarkable about something being used up that was designed to be used up?

Nothing to see here, move along!

--PM

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Informative)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229436)

Not to mention

NASA said WISE completed its primary mission, a full scan of the entire sky in infrared light, on July 17, 2010.

Sounds like a non-issue there.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (-1, Redundant)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229520)

In addition: "NASA said WISE completed its primary mission, a full scan of the entire sky in infrared light, on July 17, 2010."

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (0)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229602)

I don't believe it. I think there's an evil villain up there with a blow torch. Bwhahahahahahaha!

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Interesting)

barzok (26681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229832)

Maybe we've just become accustomed to NASA missions far exceeding [wikipedia.org] their expected duration [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230270)

This. Keep pushing the bar higher (I'm looking at you Spirit and Opportunity), and when something fails when we predicted, we're disappointed it didn't last longer. Us humans are hard to please.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230924)

That.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33231154)

Those.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229836)

Are you saying the consumables on board were consumed on schedule, as designed and as expected? STOP THE PRESSES!

NASA's problem is that Spirit and Opportunity lasted so ridiculously long past their stated mission that merely exceeding expectations by a reasonable engineering design factor now looks like newsworthy incompetence.

They should have ended that mission on time by nuking them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230296)

Dead on. Furthermore, it IS still working on a secondary bonus mission since all but the longest wavelength is still working great. Apparently, NASA is not olny expected to extend it's missions well beyond their designed endpoint, they are expected to do so with no degradation whatsoever.

I guess at this rate, they'll be given a big rubber band, a sack lunch and a scuba tank for their budget and instructed to carry out a manned moon mission.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230466)

As long as they used the rubber band to strap around the writing arms of all of the Congresscritters so they'd stop mucking up the mission objectives or specifying that the lunch has to consist solely of corn grown in their district, I bet they could do it with just the sack lunch and SCUBA tank.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230604)

Dead on. Furthermore, it IS still working on a secondary bonus mission since all but the longest wavelength is still working great. Apparently, NASA is not olny expected to extend it's missions well beyond their designed endpoint, they are expected to do so with no degradation whatsoever.

I guess at this rate, they'll be given a big rubber band, a sack lunch and a scuba tank for their budget and instructed to carry out a manned moon mission.

It's the curse of doing their job too well. Congress sees NASA exceeding its goals on a regular basis so they assume it's receiving too much funding. Ironically, a spectacular failure every now and then might help.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231060)

Ironically, a spectacular failure every now and then might help.

It makes sense. Congress, like most of us better understand that we have experience with.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230522)

NASA's problem is that Spirit and Opportunity lasted so ridiculously long past their stated mission that merely exceeding expectations by a reasonable engineering design factor now looks like newsworthy incompetence.

It's not just the rovers. Despite some genuinely newsworthy fuckups, when NASA gets it right -- which is most of the time -- they usually do a stellar job, pun intended. A fair number of NASA probes have lasted decades beyond their primary mission and continue to produce useful data. Voyager I, for example, is still transmitting thirty-three years after its launch.

Some people have just got to have their government incompetence stories even when the government is being unbelievably competent.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (1)

ddillman (267710) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229852)

Exactly! This is not a newsworthy item. At best it's a blip saying it's happened as expected. Poor headline, poor choice to run this as front page news.

Re:It's warming up--pretty much on schedule (4, Funny)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230276)

PR Dept: We haven't said anything for a while. What's new?
Scientist: Nothing happening really - we're not even getting much from WISE now
PR Dept: What? No WISE?
Scientist: Exactly, it's coming to the planned end of usefulness and heating up
PR Dept: [hitting speeddial] Is that the New York Times? One of our satellites is about to explode...

What to do (3, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229412)

WISE's infrared telescope and detectors are kept chilled inside a Thermos-like tank of solid hydrogen, called a cryostat. This prevents WISE from picking up the heat, or infrared, signature of its own instrument. The solid hydrogen, called a cryogen, was expected to last about 10 months -- the mission launched in December 2009.

The primary tank is still running, and now will do a

second survey of about one-half the sky. It's possible the remaining coolant will run out before that scan is finished. Scientists say the second scan will help identify new and nearby objects, as well as those that have changed in brightness. It could also help to confirm oddball objects picked up in the first scan, NASA stated.

It appears, to the uninformed such as myself, that this satellite was meant to have a life of about 2 years. The good news is that it accomplished its primary mission. The bad news is that the NASA boys either didn't plan accordingly to cool it properly for its second run, or it was a hopeful objective.

Re:What to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230004)

It's "design" was to be able to scan the whole sky twice, even though the minimum mission spec was one scan. It's performance in the on ground thermal test, however, lead to the initial lifetime prediction to be about what we're seeing.

The satellite could actually work in the two shortest wavelengths without cooling at all. Trouble is there was no funding for a warm mission. The only reason they're continuing to fund it now is because channel three will still work as long as the primary coolant tank does and it's the channel that is excellent at asteroid hunting.

Re:What to do (3, Informative)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230228)

The primary mission was to map the whole sky once. They left themselves some reserves in case of problems, so they were expecting to be able to do a second partial map, but we covered their success [slashdot.org] when it happened back in July. So, this is news, but not a surprise. You can find more details on their site [nasa.gov] .

Re:What to do (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230346)

The secondary objective was just a hopeful one along the lines of as long as it's up there and still partially functioning after completing it's mission, it would be a shame to just switch it off.

Re:What to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230374)

Actually the primary mission was planned for about 6 months, which they easily accomplished. Early estimates indicated that they would stay cool longer than expected and they hoped to survey more. However, it looks like that didn't quite go as well as hoped.

The overall mission was a success. There were never plans to replenish coolant on the thing.

Global warming caused it to get too hot? (0, Offtopic)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229468)

[j/k]

Re:Global warming caused it to get too hot? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229580)

Yes. As a matter of fact, global warming is heating space! And eventually, the ice caps on Mars will melt and release even more CO2 - heating space even more! Then, the ice rings around Saturn will melt causing more global warming and eventually, it will affect Uranus - then a true disaster, you'll need K-Y.

Re:Global warming caused it to get too hot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229638)

then a true disaster, you'll need K-Y

O I C... Y = 273.15 ?

Fahrenheit... (1)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229508)

I think people in the USA with a brain will be able to grasp kelvin/Celsius fine... The others don't need to be reading this.

Re:Fahrenheit... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229624)

The nice thing is that at 12 degrees, to a layman it doesn't really matter if you are talking Rankine or Kelvin...

Re:Fahrenheit... (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229702)

Laymen don't understand thermodynamics at any temperature. It's not about temperature, it's about pretending there's a problem and engaging people's antagonistic streak towards government, which they also don't understand at any temperature.

Re:Fahrenheit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230870)

Sorry to derail the topic, but the antagonistic streak towards government doesn't emerge from nowhere. One recent example would be the massive, worldwide bailout of numerous unsound financial institutions, amongst others. That is the equivalent to a root canal without anesthetics to many people.

Re:Fahrenheit... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231044)

Well, first, we're getting the money back. And second, root canal is a whole lot more painful, if lighter on the pocket. You can in fact lose every nickel you ever had and several hundred thousand more and not feel a thing. So equating financial loss with physical pain is never an apt simile.

But thanks for proving my point.

Re:Fahrenheit... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229878)

Or, if you live too far of the Mason Dixon line, Fahrenheit, for that matter. 12F is cold enough to kill a thin-blooded southerner as dead as 100F would do to thick-blooded me. :)

Re:Fahrenheit... (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231242)

[Pedant mode on]

Kelvin isn't a measure of degree, it is a unit. You say 12 Kelvin, not 12 degrees Kelvin.

[Pedant mode off]

Rankine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229584)

> minus 438 F [wikipedia.org]

What a useless number. Why not put it in useful terms: 21.6 R [wikipedia.org] !

As Planned (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229600)

It finished the first pass a month ago and will be doing another pass as it heats up to check for differences since the last pass.
The new infrared data provided by WISE should be approximately 1000 times more sensitive than previous data.

Hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229722)

"Alright, who's the WISE guy who emptied the coolant tank?"

If you lose your cool at that joke, well, I'd like to say that wouldn't be a WISE course of action, but...

Not just one satellite... (-1, Offtopic)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229734)

Apparently their problems include the NOAA-16 satellite too:

http://www.climatechangefraud.com/climate-reports/7491-official-satellite-failure-means-decade-of-global-warming-data-doubtful [climatechangefraud.com]

"readings for June and July 2010 for Lake Michigan showed crazy temperatures off the scale ranging in the low to mid hundreds - with some parts of the Wisconsin area apparently reaching 612 F."

What's that got to do with NASA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229926)

That's a NOAA bird. Are you one of those idiots that thinks "America" plus "Space" means "NASA"?

NOAA 16 was NASA and NOAA (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230156)

Well, a quick google on NOAA-16 leads to this:

http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases2000/nov00/noaa00r323.html [noaa.gov]

"The NOAA-16 satellite is working beautifully," said Harry McCain, NASA's project manager for the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite program.

"We're extremely pleased with the success of the verification process, and look forward to a successful mission for NOAA-16," said Mike Mignogno, NOAA's polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite manager.

"This success is due to the professionalism of a large team of NASA, NOAA and contractor personnel," McCain added.

So, you're right, "America" plus "Space" doesn't equal "NASA", but "NOAA-16" equals "NASA, NOAA plus contractors"

Apology accepted :)

Re:Not just one satellite... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230132)

Don't make it worse than it is. IF the data doesn't fit, it's fairly simple to smooth it. Or just correct for the assumed errors. This is not uncommon in other NASA projects [wordpress.com] .

Nothing new [telegraph.co.uk] here.

Re:Not just one satellite... (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230666)

> Apparently their problems include the NOAA-16 satellite too

I hope WISE scientists aren't up nights worrying about every sensor of everybody else's satellites.

Nor do hardware glitches support the allegation that climatology is a fraudulent global conspiracy. Such FUD works great in politics, but to disprove AGW, scientists need reproducible counter-evidence. Press releases about anomalous sensor readings shouldn't influence otherwise tech-savvy people like you.

Re:Not just one satellite... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231268)

but to disprove AGW, scientists need reproducible counter-evidence.

Actually, to disprove AGW, or more specifically catastrophic AGW, it first must be stated as a falsifiable hypothesis. Simply claiming that every weather condition and every measurement is an affirmation of the theory is a tautology, not science.

There is plenty of counter-evidence out there, but the AGW dodge is always about "the preponderance" of the evidence, neatly avoiding any refutation by pretending that science is some sort of democracy with majority rule.

Anyway, it looks like the NASA folks who helped NOAA with NOAA-16 are suffering the same types of measurement problems as the NASA folks who worked on WISE - I certainly hope there is some sort of coordination between groups (if they are different), to share best practices and learn from the failures they've had.

Any chance of parking it in the shade? (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229774)

Is it possible to change its orbit so it's constantly in the umbra of something? The earth, the moon, IIS, anything?

Not much is "constant" in orbit (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229944)

The only place which would be "constantly" in the umbra from the Sun would be the L2 LaGrange point, opposite the sun. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ee/Lagrange_points2.svg [wikimedia.org] The Sun-staring SOHO uses the opposite L1 to stay OUT of the umbra. However, it's roughly a million miles from earth. So, let's just say no and build another one.

Any other place that you "park it" will end up revolving into view of the Sun. Sorry. I didn't design this system.

Re:Any chance of parking it in the shade? (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230618)

No, and even if there was such a place, WISE does not have the fuel to go anywhere (except down).

How I keep things cold (1)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229894)

Several years ago I got the idea to use my wife's feet as a heat sink for an overclocked CPU. Once I solved the issue of frost buildup on the chip, it worked great.

Warm Mission (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230162)

In May of 2009, the Spitzer IR space telescope ran out of coolant and transitioned to a "warm mission":

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-086 [nasa.gov]

However...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer [wikipedia.org] ...The WISE group's bid for continued funding for an extended "warm mission" was recently scored low by a NASA review board, in part because of a lack of outside groups publishing on WISE Data. Such a mission would have allowed use of the 3.4 and 4.6 micron detectors after the last of cryo-coolant had been exhausted, with the goal of completing a second sky survey to detect additional objects and obtain parallax data on putative brown dwarf stars.

YOU fAI8L IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230252)

the leongest or

Primary missions successfully completed 7/17/10 (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230706)

It achieved 100% objectives. Its on extended mission now. But probably will not complete a 2nd full-sky mapping.

Isn't space 'cold'? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230888)

Okay, stupid question, but isn't space 'cold'? I'm having a hard time picturing why the thing is heating up when it is in outer space.

Re:Isn't space 'cold'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33230992)

Space doesn't have a temperature. How can 'nothing' have a temperature? That's equally as absurd as thinking space is hot.

Re:Isn't space 'cold'? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231024)

So 'cold' means only 'has a low temperature'? Because I've been colloquially using it to also mean 'leaches heat'.

Re:Isn't space 'cold'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33231066)

The sun?????????

Earth is in space, somehow it is heating up though to 300K. Weird eh??

Re:Isn't space 'cold'? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33231210)

It is way colder than 12K, but the density of matter in space is very small, what makes it hard to conduct any heat into it. You could still radiate the heat away, if you were able to carry enough radiative area, and dealed with the problem that is the Sun heating your radiators, instead of deep space cooling them.

The Infrared Detector's had a bad day, but... (1)

Jenny Z (1028212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33230894)

At least it didn't get on the radio and swear at everybody, then grab two beers and jump out into space.

Or maybe it did....

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