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Space Situational Awareness - Near Earth Objects
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- Title Space Situational Awareness - Near Earth Objects
- Released 13/10/2011 11:57 am
- Copyright ESA - P.Carril
The SSA-NEO system is based on syndicating and federating observation and tracking data provided by a large number of European and international sources.
The key components include:
- Observatories and astronomers with telescopes of various sizes, both professional and amateur
- A central SSA-NEO data centre, the 'Small Bodies Data Centre', which uses astrometric measurements collected by the Minor Planet Center (USA)
- An analysis capability to predict possible impact locations and assess dangers
- Analyses related to risk mitigation, including the possible deflection of an asteroid
- A system for issuing warnings and alerts to civil authorities in Europe
Data on NEOs are collected from telescopes and radar systems worldwide. Each of these submit observations to the Minor Planet Center (MPC), operated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) at Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, which acts as a central clearing house for asteroid and comet observations.
The measurements collected there are retrieved by the European Small Bodies Data Centre; orbits and miss distances are computed. In case of high-risk impact predictions, the data will be cross-checked with NASA's SENTRY system, operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California, before issuing alerts.