Sharing high-quality astrophysical data has been recognized as a key success factor and has increased the number of ground-based observational projects and space missions useable for NEOs (Near-Earth Objects) study.

The NEO Rapid Observation, Characterization and Key Simulations

Our team gained experience mainly as part of the international project “The NEO Rapid Observation, Characterization, and Key Simulations”. The rising awareness of the experts in the Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) was the cause of various global initiatives for reliable risk assessment evaluation and practical mitigation procedures design.

The most effective approach includes access to data collected by a) large aperture telescopes dedicated to NEOs observations, b) small to medium-class instruments and c) amateur observations.

Exploration & ground-based missions

Dedicated missions extremely detailed observations: i.e. Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) – Canadian microsatellite using a 15-cm aperture f/5.88 Maksutov telescope or proposed Whipple spacecraft.

Personnel from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Microsat Systems Canada Incorporated (MSCI) prepare NEOSSat for thermal vacuum testing in CSA’s David Florida Lab test facility at Shirleys Bay campus, Ottawa, Ontario.

Other spacecraft observations generate some difficulties due to the fact that observation parameters are not dedicated directly to the NEOs observations: It can be overcome by resorting to the data gathered by space observatories not necessarily devoted to NEO observations but spanning a wide variety of astrophysical goals (infrared mapping etc.). WISE and Gaia experience has shown that they can become a significant source of NEO physical properties data.

Physical characterization

NEO research from space is an international endeavor that requires coherent planning, efficient information exchange, collaboration, and coordination of efforts. The physical characterization of NEOs from space provides information in three areas:

  • up-to-date research activities concerning asteroids,
  • development of technologies dedicated to NEO (missions and instruments)
  • planetary defense.
  • Querying observatories databases for distinct ephemerides.

Our company:

  • gather information on worldwide research activities and results concerning NEO as well as on instrument development and missions status, establish contacts with representatives of main NEO research & technology centers (e.g. space agencies, observation centers, big research projects) in the world in order to exchange information and coordinate efforts related to NEOs,
  • exploit the results of NEOROCKS activities and complement them with information gathered in task 1 in preparing the future plans for NEO missions,
  • analyze the relevance and make use of data and information about NEO other than from space missions (astronomical observations, modeling, laboratory work).

Orbit characterization

We participate in the orbit determination process improvement for NEOs recently discovered and confirmed in NEOCP. We provide algorithms and information to increase the efficiency of the NEOs’ physical characterization. We also participate in the recovery of observations belonging to images in old data databases, with the purpose to improve the NEO orbits determination. We implemented a basic rapid response system scenario.

Near-Earth Object – artist visualization.

We have applied

  • the computation of the visibility of the newly discovered NEO in the current
    apparition and in possible previous apparitions, taking into account the uncertainty
    of the orbit
  • the quest in possible image archives to find potential detections of the NEO,
  • the search for possible unidentified previous apparitions of the NEO
  • the estimation of the improved orbit.