The Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) is the first dedicated space telescope designed to find near-Earth asteroids(NEAs). Discoveries of new NEAs by NEOSSat will add to the international effort to map this near-Earth asteroid population. The NESS project will be allocated half of the satellite`s viewing time for asteroid research with the other half being allotted to the HEOSS project run by Defence Research and Development Canada.
NESS`s specific research goals are:
- To use NEOSSat to discover new near-Earth asteroids by searching the sky along the ecliptic plane as close to the Sun as its microsatellite custom baffle design allows (to within 45° of the Sun). This search will focus on two groups of asteroids; one called Atens (asteroids with orbits mostly within the Earth`s (although they cross Earth’s orbit at their farthest points from the Sun) and, in particular, Atiras (asteroids whose entire orbit is within Earth’s).
- To conduct follow-up tracking of any near-Earth asteroids discovered by NEOSSat and other search programs.
- To assess potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) by better defining their orbital parameters.
- To monitor comets when they come close to the Sun, and to check suspected comets for outgassing activity.
- To provide ground-based radar-imaging programs with accurate targeting locations.
To see a more complete discussion of the project research goals, please see the following paper: