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.

24 March 2010

Update on NASA FY2011 budget and NEO funding: Near Earth Object Observation (NEOO) Initiative

As you may recall when the NASA FY2011 Budget was released there seemed to be an increase in the funding for NEO specific work, from the approximately US$4M to about US$16M. Here is more detail.

From the NASA FY2011 Science Mission Directorate budget overview document...
The Near Earth Object Observations (NEOO) project has been augmented by $16M/year, to accelerate progress on the detection and characterization of NEOs less than 1km in diameter. In FY 2011, this will support the analysis of archived data from the Wide-Field Infrared Spectroscopic Explorer (WISE) mission.

A presentation from Dr. Wes Huntress has more detail on some of the allocation of this funding. Highlights from the presentation, specifically dealing with NEOs... 

- NASA Current Funded Systems (existing funding):
- NEO Program Office @ JPL (Program coordination, Automated SENTRY)
- Minor Planet Center (MPC) (IAU sanctioned, Discovery Clearinghouse, Initial Orbit Determination)
- Observation: NEO-WISE, LINEAR, Catalina Sky Survey, Pan-STARRS

- Near Earth Object Observation (NEOO) Initiative (new funding):
With the additional funding of $16M, the NEOO Program will:
- Extend the collection, archive, and analysis of WISE NEO data
- Enable collection of NEO data by the USAF’s Pan-STARRS project
- Support the continued operation of planetary radar capabilities at the NSF’s Arecibo and NASA’s own Goldstone facilities
- Investigate use of both ground and space-based assets for Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHOs) 140 meters and below
- Determinate what characteristics of PHOs are needed to assess possible mitigation actions

Link: Dr. Wes Huntress Science Committee Report

Link: NASA FY2011 Science Mission Directorate Budget Overview Document

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