It has been approved to move to the “preliminary design” phase of NASA’s launch of a new satellite designed to survey the universe for potentially dangerous asteroids and comets on Earth.
Known as the Near-Earth Object Surveyor (NEO), the new satellite is expected to be launched by 2026 and should accelerate, according to Mike Kelly, an active scientist with NASA’s Near-Earth Object Survey program, progressing with those observations. Related to objects that could one day become dangerous in terms of impact on our planet.
The satellite is actually designed to detect at least 90% of asteroids with a diameter of at least 140 meters in its first decade of operation. So far, it is estimated that only 40% of NEOs with a diameter of at least 140 meters have been identified. These are things that would cause devastation that would be considered widespread if they hit our planet but should in no way threaten the very existence of human civilization. To create a true apocalypse that could turn back the clock several centuries in relation to human progress would require objects with a diameter of at least one kilometer, according to scientists’ calculations.
The satellite should position itself at Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable point located between the Earth and the Sun at a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers from our planet. In addition to the lens, it will be equipped with various sensors specifically designed to identify dangerous objects by monitoring the wavelength of infrared light. The data it will collect can then be combined with that collected by other observers from Earth, which will greatly improve NASA’s ability to determine not only the size and characteristics of these objects but also their level of danger.
NASA also funded another acknowledgment specifically related to the contrast with things whose impact on our planet could cause us problems. This is the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission which should see the launch of a probe that should collide with the asteroid Didymos. The launch should take place by November and should show technicians and scientists how such an impact could deflect an asteroid of this type, which is one technique that humanity can implement once a dangerous asteroid has been identified that could impact our planet. .