Observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal that there are fewer near-Earth midsize asteroids than originally thought (link). It seems the photon cannons are working.
WISE is also searching for the origins of the dinosaur-killing asteroid. NASA’s caption for this artist’s rendition reads:
Scientists think that a giant asteroid, which broke up long ago in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, eventually made its way to Earth and led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Data from NASA’s WISE mission likely rules out the leading suspect, a member of a family of asteroids called Baptistina, so the search for the origins of the dinosaur-killing asteroid goes on.
But check out these actual pictures taken by WISE. Stunning. A wide-field infrared imager is the way to photograph space.
The final Space Shuttle mission is currently underway, 30 years after the first one went up. People are IN SPACE. For REAL. No asteroids, but they’re doing some serious tinkering up there. It’s all streaming live on the NASA TV website (that image is a frame-grab).