NESS Project Objectives

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.
NEOSSat banner

Early Artist’s Concept of NEOSSat
Credit: University of Calgary / MSCI

To see a more complete discussion of the project research goals, please see the following paper:

Hildebrand, A.R., Carroll, K.A., Tedesco, E.F., Faber, D.R., Cardinal, R.D., Matthews, J.M., Kuschnig, R., Walker, G.A.H., Gladman, B., Pazder, J., Brown, P.G., Worden, S.P., Burrell, D.A., Chodas, P.W., Larson, S.M., Wallace, B.J., Muinonen, K., and Cheng, A., 2004, The Canadian Near Earth Space Surveillance (NESS) Microsatellite Project will Discover and Track Low Delta V near-Earth Asteroids by Observing at Low Solar Elongations: Proceedings of the 55th International Astronautical Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, Paper IAC-04-!AA. CD format