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Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters

New Shoemaker NEO Grant Call for Proposals

Posted by Bruce Betts

19-11-2012 22:06 CST

Topics: near-Earth asteroids, planetary astronomy, Planetary Society Projects, events and announcements, Shoemaker NEO Grants

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013. The Shoemaker NEO Grants are designed to assist amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and under-funded professional observers in contributing to vital NEO research. 

I am very excited to announce that Timothy Spahr, the Director of the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has agreed to be our new Shoemaker NEO Grant coordinator. Tim will guide the direction of the program and coordinate the review panel that will make recommendations for funding. Among other tasks, the MPC, run by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, is responsible for the collection of astrometric (position) measurements of NEOs and dissemination of those measurements, making Tim the ideal person to help guide the Shoemaker NEO grants. 

Shoemaker NEO Grant Repeat Winners
Shoemaker NEO Grant Repeat Winners
As of 2012, these 4 individuals and their observatories have won more than one Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grant: (left to right) Bob Holmes (USA), Herman Mikuz (Slovenia), Russ Durkee (USA), and David Higgins (Australia).

I want to express the appreciation of The Planetary Society as a whole, as well as my personal thanks, to outgoing Shoemaker NEO Grant coordinator Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute. Volunteering his time for many years, Dan has done a great job and has been instrumental to maximizing the contribution of the Shoemaker NEO Grants to addressing the near Earth asteroid threat. We have limited resources, and having people like Dan and Tim and the expert panelists they engage is crucial to ensuring we spend our resources where they can make the biggest difference.

This round of grants will continue to focus on improving capabilities for follow-up observations of near Earth asteroids and characterizing the physical properties of asteroids (important for deflecting dangerous asteroids). Even though these are the foci, Shoemaker NEO Grant winners have also made some interesting recent discoveries including close by passes of Earth including 2012 DA14, passing close by in February 2013, and the recently discovered 2012 SY49. Grants typically go to hardware improvements to take already productive observatories to the next level, for example through sensitive cameras or equipment to robotically control an observatory. See the Call for Proposals for more background and more on what we are looking for in proposals, and see this page for details on how to submit a proposal. See the Shoemaker NEO pages for more on the program, including updates on past winners. You can also listen to past winners on Planetary Radio including this recent show, and this show about 2012 DA14.

See other posts from November 2012


Or read more blog entries about: near-Earth asteroids, planetary astronomy, Planetary Society Projects, events and announcements, Shoemaker NEO Grants


Patrick Wiggins: 11/20/2012 02:01 CST

I'm guessing you meant to say "Proposals are due Feb. 4, 201*3*."

Bruce Betts: 11/26/2012 04:41 CST

I corrected the typo in the year from 2012 to 2013. Thanks.

Paul Felix Schott: 11/26/2012 05:45 CST

How many Satellites will this one take out. ALL Should Look Up "2012 DA14". This could take out one of more satellites and the junk and debris from the hit could end up taking out many more satellites very soon after that. All the satellite collision probability will go way up if even one is hit. The velocity that the parts would go to would make them missiles that would start targeting a chain reaction this would not be good. Most all will be watching this one and pray it goes by us with out a hit. Every Scientist alive will be watching this event. Many will be in Florida for a very special viewing of the once in a Lifetime Event. Professors, Scientist, World Leaders, Ham Radio Operators and Every Astronomer will have its eyes on This Event, along with almost every TV set on Earth. Read your Bible While you still can. John 14 : 6 Luke 13 : 27 Matthew 7 : 20 - 27 The Lord's Little Helper. Paul Felix Schott.

Bob Ware: 11/28/2012 05:51 CST

PFS: This is a low risk but yes quite real -- Please note that the body size has been increased to 50 meters from 45. The conversions are rounded thus not exact. Remember to drag this window open so you can read this easier. Bruce Betts -- any input? You are a Professor/teacher also. Thanks. . Geo Orbit = 22,245.088 miles (Satellites are parked here. Small chance we could loose some) 35,800.000 kilometers Mean Radii = 3,958.755 miles 6,371.000 kilometers X = the asteroid 2012DA14 & Earth at CA (Closest Approach) 3.2 & 3.5 are the minimum & maximum planet radii the asteroid will pass between from the center of the Earth * Closest Approach 02/15/2013 = 3.2 > X < 3.5 radii Closest Approach 02/15/2013 = 12,668.016 X 13,855.6425 Miles; as in 5,280 feet per mile. 2012DA14 size: (approx) = 147.637 feet 45 meters If the calculations are off and it hits, it’ll ruin someone’s day at the impact point and give others lousy weather for several months or maybe just weeks. That depends on where it hits. As of today’s calculations, 05/23/2012 it will NOT impact.

Bob Ware: 11/28/2012 05:56 CST

It would be great if we could tag it with transponders as it passes by. I know, the mechanics and etc... I'm only saying ...

Bob Ware: 12/20/2012 11:13 CST

I just thought about this: look up Sally Rayls 'Torino Scale' updated article from 2005. Search on: Torino Scale. She covers the Scale quite well. Here is a quote from her article: "... The Torino Scale is similar in that sense. If you're dealing with a NEO that is a 1 or 2, there should be an immediate reaction that it is of no concern to you or your well-being. When you get up to 8 on the Torino scale you have finally reached certainty that an object coming by the Earth is going to hit and cause local effects," much like you know an 8 on the Richter scale will raise eyebrows and level buildings. Objects that fall in the 8, 9, or 10 level on the scale are certain to hit Earth. A 9 on the Torino scale denotes large regional effects, and 10 signifies ultimate catastrophe. ...". In the case of 2012DA14, it would rate a 1 and no higher. Sure we could lose a satellite or some but probably not. If so, so what. It was a decade and a half after I was born before we got them so life is possible without them. It would at worst be a return to the "good old days". Oh yeah, I dated myself for sure! LOL! So in this case it is time for the Asteroid Party of the Century! Bring your lumpy food like chicken nuggets, popcorn, broken up Rice Krispie Treats, Peanut M&M's. Get the idea!?

Bob Ware: 02/02/2013 06:46 CST

From NASA New updated trajectory data: "...Asteroid 2012 DA14 will be closest to Earth on Feb. 15, at about 11:24 p.m. PST (2 p.m. EST and 1924 UT), when it will be at a distance of about 27,700 kilometers (17,200 miles) above Earth's surface. ..."

Bob Ware: 02/02/2013 08:05 CST

The PST error is from the NASA website. It should be 11:24 a.m. .

Bruce Betts: 02/11/2013 05:35 CST

We have posted lots of background and information about 2012 DA14 at:

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