Spacecraft technicians begin to lift NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, enclosed in a transportation canister, to the top of the mobile launch tower at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
WISE will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, creating a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects which will be catalogued and provide a vast storehouse of knowledge about the solar system, the Milky Way, and the universe. Launch is scheduled for Dec. 9. For additional information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/wise. Photo credit: NASA/Mark Mackley, VAFB