Accelerate Asteroid Discovery

Daniel de Zeeuw

October 29, 2018

Over the past decade, B612, and now the Asteroid Institute, have argued for the importance of finding and tracking Near Earth Asteroids.

Consistent with the Asteroid Day 100X Declaration, we have supported efforts to increase the rate of discovery and tracking of asteroids, from LSST to ATLAS to NEOCam. In particular, we have argued that a space-based infrared survey telescope can be a very effective tool, particularly in combination with LSST.

Now is a very important time for such efforts, as the infrared space telescope NEOCam is fighting for funding. We wholeheartedly support this push.

The combination of LSST, Pan-STARRS, Catalina Sky Survey, and NEOCam together can bring the global inventory of Near Earth Asteroids down to about 140 meters in size, which is a major improvement over our catalog today. Eventually, we will want to extend our surveys down to asteroids capable of destroying an entire city (40 meters or larger), but that will require a future leap in technology.

Asteroid Institute Executive Director Dr. Ed Lu said, “We support all efforts to increase the discovery rate of Near Earth Asteroids. NEOCam will make an important contribution to this mission.”

B612 President Danica Remy said, “Funding NEOCam is an important step to complement LSST and other asteroid missions including Osiris-REx and Hayabusa2. We encourage NASA and the United States Congress to find a way to fund NEOCam and for the European Union to fund ESA’s HERA, a companion to the NASA-funded DART mission.”

Prior B612 Endorsements of NEOCam

Daniel de Zeeuw