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Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grant Program

To find and track near-Earth objects (NEOs) to determine which pose a threat to our world, The Planetary Society has established the Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants. Shoemaker grants are awarded to amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and professional astronomers who, with seed funding, can greatly increase their programs' contributions to NEO research.

Grant recipients have played critical roles in tracking small asteroids that were discovered by major asteroid survey programs, and providing the crucial follow-up observations to determine precise orbits for these objects. They have also contributed NEO discoveries and characterizations of the properties of NEOs. Through these observations and others, supported by Society members and their donations, the Society is playing an active role in helping to ‘retire’ some of the risk of impact from NEOs and to reveal the properties of these interesting and valuable targets for future exploration.

The program honors pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, who did so much to help us understand the process of impact cratering on the planets and the nature of the NEO population, and seeks to assist amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and under-funded professional observers contributing to vital NEO research.

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Since founding the grant program in 1997, The Planetary Society has awarded 56 Shoemaker NEO grants totaling about $382,000 to observers from 18 different countries on 6 continents. You can follow the efforts of past grant recipients through their contributions to the Planetary Society Blog and the Planetary Radio podcast


Project Updates

Propose for a Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grant

Emily Lakdawalla • March 17, 2010

Are you a serious amateur astronomer who enjoys the challenge of following up on the discoveries of faint near-Earth objects?

Planetary Society Researcher Max Rocca Discovers Largest Impact Crater in South America

Amir Alexander • February 13, 2010

It was January of 2004 when the elegant curve of the Vichada first caught the attention of geologist Max Rocca of Buenos Aires. Could the course of the river have been shaped by the circular outlines of an impact crater? Rocca decided to find out.

WISE has found its first comet, P/2010 B2 (WISE)

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2010

Having discovered its first asteroid on January 12, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has now officially discovered its first comet, P/2010 B2 (WISE).

Apophis is less scary than it used to be

Bruce Betts • October 07, 2009

Based on analyses of previously unstudied telescopic data, NASA scientists have released new predictions for the path of the 300-meter-diameter asteroid Apophis.

More from the Planetary Defense Conference: Shoemaker Grant Winners

Bruce Betts • April 27, 2009

More from the Planetary Defense Conference: Shoemaker Grant Winners

Updates on the 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • April 27, 2009

Our 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners have been extremely busy over the past two years. Take for example Quanzhi Ye of Guangzhou, China: He was only 18 when he received the award but already the principal investigator of the sky survey at the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan.

Updates on the 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • June 27, 2008

Amateur astronomers play a critical role in retiring the risk of impact from near-Earth objects. When the Shoemaker NEO Grant program began in 1997, the focus was on finding previously undiscovered objects one kilometer in diameter and larger. Thanks to professional NEO survey programs like LINEAR (the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research program run by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories) and the Catalina Sky Survey (run from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory), the goal of discovering the vast majority of large NEOs is within reach, and the focus of the Shoemaker NEO Grant Program has shifted to astrometric follow-up and physical studies.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • March 01, 2007

Update as of March 4, 2007 Thanks to The Planetary Society Shoemaker Grant, the 1.06-meter KLENOT telescope optics was completed at the Klet Observatory. Regular observations of the KLENOT project started in March 2002 under the new IAU/MPC code 246, so we can now present results covering 5 years of this work.

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More on NEO Grants

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Amateur Astronomers Work To Save Earth From Asteroids!

March 14, 2018 • 36:35

Seven astronomers have been selected to receive Shoemaker NEO (Near Earth Object) grants from the Planetary Society. They and their observatories span the planet. We’ll meet an American and an Australian. Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts provides an overview of the grant program and later returns for this week’s edition of What’s Up. The Planetary Society’s Kate Howells reports on the outlook for space funding in Canada’s newly-released federal budget. She and Society CEO Bill Nye also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

July 05, 2017 • 1:04:12

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

Dinosaurs vs. Asteroids - The Planetary Post

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The dinosaurs didn't have a space program, but we do! Learn more about what we're doing to protect the Earth from asteroids and how you can help.


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