NEO-Surveyor in space

NEO Surveyor Begins Preliminary Development

NASA JPL announced on December 6th, 2022, that their newest asteroid hunter, the NEO Surveyor, has begun preliminary development

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Ashe S.

Ashe S.

Sat Dec 10 2022Written by Ashe S.

NASA JPL announced on December 6th, 2022, that the newest asteroid hunter, the NEO Surveyor, has begun preliminary development and is scheduled to launch in 2028.

NEO Surveyor: Asteroid Hunter

The NEO Surveyor telescope mission is focused on tracking and cataloging Near Earth Objects (NEOs).  Consisting of primarily asteroids and comets, classification for these objects fall under two categories, size and closeness. If an object is approximately 25-30 meters in diameter and comes within 7 million kilometres of earth at some point in its orbit. While the odds of any of these objects coming close to Earth is remote, it is still critical that we as a species know of and can guarantee our safety from these threats. The NEO Surveyor has been specifically designed to hone in on and track objects that pose a threat to Earth in some manner. NEO Surveyor is the newest in the line of these asteroid hunting telescopes, succeeding the NEOWISE mission.

On the back of NEOWISE

WISE, standing for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, launched into the morning skies above Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California in December. 14, 2009. By early 2011, it had finished scanning the entire sky twice in infrared light, snapping pictures of three-quarters of a billion objects, including remote galaxies, stars and asteroids. Upon completing its surveys in 2011, WISE was put to sleep. But in September 2013, NASA reactivated the mission with the primary goal of scanning for near-Earth objects, or NEOs. Though the WISE mission had been doing asteroid searches before it entered hibernation, through a project called NEOWISE, that had not been its main purpose until now. For its new chapter in life, the mission is officially renamed NEOWISE. NEOWISE focus was on near-Earth Objects primarily for the focus on interplanetary bodies, cataloging a total of over 200 asteroids and comets.