This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

26 June 2008

Additional Articles on Canadian NEO Search Small Satellite: NEOSSat

Additional articles on Canadian NEO search satellite, NEOSSat. From the articles...

On Thursday, the Canadian Space Agency and Defence Research Development Canada announced they are preparing to launch the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, or NEOSSat, a suitcase-sized telescope capable of spotting asteroids and tracking high-altitude satellites and space debris.

NEOSSat follows on the success of the MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of STars) telescope, the 60 kg star-watching satellite that was launched in 2003 and operates on a shoestring budget.

Like its predecessor, NEOSSat is tiny, with a mass of 65 kilograms and a telescope with a 15 centimetre aperture, smaller than most amateur astronomers' telescopes.

And like MOST, it will be cheap too, costing $12 million to build, launch and operate.

Scheduled to launch into space in 2010, NEOSSat will have two main science tasks: the NESS (Near Earth Space Surveillance) asteroid search program and the HEOSS (High Earth Orbit Space Surveillance) program, which will track satellites and other objects floating in high orbit around Earth.

The satellite, funded by the Canadian Space Agency and Defence Research & Development Canada and built by Mississauga-based Dynacon Inc., will also to keep an eye on satellites and floating debris orbiting the Earth.

Although NEOSSat's 15-centimetre telescope is smaller than most amateur astronomers', its location approximately 700 kilometres above Earth's atmosphere will give it a huge advantage in searching the blackness of space for faint signs of moving asteroids. Twisting and turning hundreds of times each day, orbiting from pole to pole every 50 minutes, and generating power from the Sun, NEOSSat will send dozens of images to the ground each time it passes over Canada. Due to the ultra-low sky background provided by the vacuum of space, NEOSSat will be able to detect asteroids delivering as few as 50 photons of light in a 100-second exposure.

Link: CBC News Article

Link: ScienceDaily Article

Link: NEOSSAT Home page

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