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Bruce BettsApril 17, 2013

Saving the World: Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced

What do the discovery of close fly by asteroid 2012 DA14 and the most productive near Earth object (NEO) follow-up tracking program in the world have in common?  They were both made possible by Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grants.  And, now, we again invest in the future and defending against the asteroid threat to Earth.

I am very excited to tell you we have announced our new Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) Grant program grant winners.  They were announced at a Planetary Society co-sponsored public event at the Planetary Defense Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The Gene Shoemaker grants program, in its 16th year, provides funding primarily for extremely advanced amateurs, but also for professionals, to take their asteroid observational programs to the next level.  You can learn more about the program here.  A string of success stories show that it has made real differences in facilitating improved tracking observations, physical characterization, and even some key discoveries in the age of professional surveys, of near Earth asteroids.

Thank you to the members of The Planetary Society who generously make this program possible!  Over the 16 years of the mission, we have awarded more than $270,000 in 43 awards to observers in 16 countries on 5 continents.

The Planetary Society sincerely thanks our expert international advisory/review panel who make it possible to make the most effective investment of our resources: Planetary Society NEO Grant Coordinator Timothy Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, USA; Alan Harris, MoreData!, USA; Carl Hergenrother, University of Arizona, USA; Petr Pravec, Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic; and Duncan Steel, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

There were 16 proposals for this round.  Based on recommendations of the review panel and resources available, 5 grants will be awarded for a total of $34, 307. Follow this link to find out more about the grant winners and what the grants will enable.

Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps

Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps

Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps
2013 Shoemaker NEO Grant winner Albino Carbognani and the 0.81 meter telescope at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps that will be improved through the grant.
Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory, South Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA

Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory

Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory, South Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA
2013 Shoemaker NEO Grant (and 2007) winner Donald Pray at the Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory, South Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA.
Center for Solar System Studies (CS3) in Landers, California

Center for Solar System Studies (CS3)

Center for Solar System Studies (CS3) in Landers, California
2013 Shoemaker Grant winner Robert Stephens at Observatory in the Southern California desert. His Shoemaker Grant will provide a sensitive camera for the 0.4 meter telescope on the left.
Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) in Westfield, Illinois, USA

Astronomical Research Institute (ARI)

Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) in Westfield, Illinois, USA
The recently re-commissioned 0.76m prime focus telescope at the Astronomical Research Institute in Illinois that will be the home for a new camera provided by a 2013 Shoemaker NEO grant to Robert Holmes (shown here).
Gary Hug's Sandlot Observatory

Gary Hug

Gary Hug's Sandlot Observatory
Sandlot Observatory built and run by Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grant winner Gary Hug in Kansas, USA. The top of the 22 inch telescope can be seen in this home built "backyard" observatory which also now includes an advanced camera purchased through a 2009 Shoemaker NEO grant.

Read more: Planetary Society, Planetary Society Projects, Shoemaker NEO Grants

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Bruce Betts

Director of Science and Technology / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
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