I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program. Proposals are due Feb. 2, 2015. 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. The winning proposers typically have existing track records and facilities and are looking for a boost to take them to the next level. Past Shoemaker grant winners have made tremendous contributions to discovery, follow-up, and characterization of potentially dangerous near Earth asteroids using the upgrades facilitated by the grants. We are very proud of our program, now in its 17th year, and the contributions it has made to NEO research.
This round of grants will continue to focus on improving capabilities for characterizing the physical properties of near Earth asteroids (important for deflecting dangerous asteroids), and also NEO follow-up observations. 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.
Timothy Spahr, the Director of the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has again agreed to be our 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.