NASA's WISE space telescope sends back 'candy store' of galaxies, comets

NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, launched back in December 14th of '09, has been tasked with piecing together the grand vista of space a little bit at a time.

"We've got a candy store of images coming down from space," said WISE principal investigator, Edward Wright of UCLA. As an adorably corny uncle might, he didn't close the doors on his metaphor: "Everyone has their favorite flavors, and we've got them all."

So far the WISE telescope has captured some absolutely amazing stuff, such as a view of the Andromeda galaxy, pictured above. More than just sending back some space porn, though, Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, says WISE is fulfilling other goals as well: "WISE has worked superbly. These first images are proving the spacecraft's secondary mission of helping to track asteroids, comets and other stellar objects will be just as critically important as its primary mission of surveying the entire sky in infrared."

You can check it all out in the gallery below, with captions provided courtesy of NASA.

NASA, via The Register