Hundreds of asteroids zip past Earth every year, many of which are potentially-hazardous space rocks as categorized by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, that computes asteroid and comet orbits and their odds of hitting Earth. So far, we’ve had just one space telescope that turned its focus to asteroids in 2013; the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer discovered tens and thousands of space rocks, but now it is nearing the end of its life.
NASA has endeavored to build a similar telescope in its legacy under its planetary-defense program, NEOCam to identify and track potentially-hazardous asteroids around Earth’s immediate neighborhood. Accordingly, the American space agency plans to launch the new satellite, the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveillance Mission complete with an infrared camera, that will hunt Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), or asteroids in the vicinity of Earth that pose danger to our planet.
According to SpaceNews.com, the fiscal year 2020 ‘minibus’ spending bill signed into law by President Trump December 20 that provides $22.63 billion for NASA includes $35.6 million to start development of the (NEO) Surveillance Mission. The NEO Surveillance Mission will be run from the University of Arizona under the leadership of Amy Mainzer.