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.

22 March 2010

International Asteroid Search Campaign

This is a public outreach campaign, called the International Asteroid Search Campaign which has 7 participating countries located on 4 continents as participants. This campaign, called the NASA WISE Asteroid Search Campaign is "part of the public outreach program for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission launched in December 2009." From the one of Galileo Teacher Training Program site in regards to the campaign...

The International Asteroid Search Campaign (IASC) is a program for high school and college students who search just hours-old astronomical images for original discoveries. These discoveries include Main Belt asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs). Students download the images on a daily basis, perform the analysis with provided software tools, and report their discoveries, which ultimately are recognized by the Minor Planet Center (MPC; Harvard University) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

This program is brought to schools at no cost for either participation or the software as an educational service provided by the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI; Charleston, IL), Hardin-Simmons University (HSU; Abilene, TX), Global Hands-On Universe Association (Portugal), and Lawrence Hall of Science (University of California, Berkeley). The software is provided by Astrometrica (Austria).

During times of Moon-less skies, the ARI takes images along the ecliptic using its 0.61-m and 0.81-m telescopes. The following morning these images are prepared and made available to the participating schools. The schools go to Hardin-Simmons University web site (http://iasc.hsutx.edu) where they download the images and use the software package Astrometrica to produce a plate solution and identify all of the moving objects. Astrometrica checks to see which of the objects are found within the MPC database. Those objects not found are identified as new discoveries

In order to complete the discovery, the ARI must take a follow-up image within seven days. When this is completed, the MPC officially recognizes the discovery and credits the students having conducted the analysis.

Search campaigns are run for 30 days at a time. A key goal of these campaigns is to establish ongoing astronomy research programs at high schools and colleges. These schools will be able to directly access the images from the Astronomical Research Institute on an ongoing basis, and integrate these searches into their science curriculums.

Link: International Asteroid Search Campaign

Link: Galileo Teacher Training Program on International Asteroid Search Campaign

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