Other Asteroid Surveys
The very real danger of asteroid and comet impacts has inspired many excellent projects which have and continue to help reduce the risk of an unexpected encounter with Earth. ATLAS distinguishes itself from other surveys because it is specifically designed to survey the entire
visible sky twice every night.
NASA maintains a page with links
to many programs relating to asteroid and comet impact hazard. Some of the more active ones are listed below:
The University of Armagh has an active interest in meteoroids and asteroids with lots of striking videos created by Scott Manley illustrating things like the discovery
of asteroids and a realistic animation
of what an asteroid impact would look like.
The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) utilizes three refurbished telescopes all using identical CCD detectors. The three telescopes are located at Steward Observatory (0.7 meter), Siding Spring (0.5 meter), and Mt. Lemmon (1.5 meter). It is currently the most
productive NEO survey program.
|The Near Earth Object Program at JPL is a NASA-sponsored effort to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth. The webpage contains a lot of general information as well as tools to calculate orbits etc. A great
The Japanese Spaceguard Association (JSGA) uses a 0.5-meter telescope to discover NEOs and has been in operation since 2000. They
plan to use a 1-meter telescope in the future.
The Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) uses a one-meter aperture GEODSS telescope to discover NEOs. They observe each patch of sky 5 times in one night with most of the efforts going into searching along the ecliptic plane where most NEOs would be
The Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS) utilized a 0.6-meter Schmidt telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona. It operated for
about 10 years (1996-2007).
The Minor Planet Center (MPC) is responsible for the designation of minor bodies in the solar system, as well as the collection, computation, verification and dissemination of astrometric observations
and orbits for minor planets and comets.
The Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) survey operated for 10 years, using a 1.2-meter aperture AMOS telescope to discover NEOs. They had two autonomous observatories, one at the Maui Space
Surveillance Site and the other at Palomar Observatory.
The Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site (NEODyS) at the University of Pisa, Italy, provides dynamically generated home pages for all Near
Earth Objects (NEO). Information is updated daily.
One objective of the space-based Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was to search for NEOs. WISE used a 0.4m telescope, and observed the entire sky 1.5 times during its 9 month
The Pan-STARRS1 science mission is in full operation mode and is one of the top 3 NEO discovery sites.
The primary goal of Spacewatch is to explore the various populations of small objects in the solar system and study the statistics of asteroids and comets in order to investigate the dynamical evolution of the solar system.
An ambitious project by the B612 foundation to place a privately-funded spacecraft in a Venus-like orbit to look for dangerous Near Earth Objects.
Other programs on the horizon include:
- The Pan-STARRS project is nearing completion of Pan-STARRS2, a second telescope that will double the productivity of Pan-STARRS1. Even more Pan-STARRS units may be built in the future.
- NASA is considering a satellite in a Venus-like orbit that can look back at the Earth and its environs with a thermal infrared camera.
- The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) recommended by the Astro2010 Decadal Survey will be a potent source of asteroid discovery when it goes online in the 2020 timeframe.