NASA's new view of asteroids

asteroid called ida

NASA now has an extra set of eyes on asteroids.

The agency’s latest partnership with Slooh, a private Internet technology company that has a global network of web-connected telescopes, lets citizen scientists and amateur astronauts track and characterize near-Earth asteroids.

Citizen scientists without access to professional equipment will now have the opportunity to participate in NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge, and find potentially hazardous asteroids and other near-earth objects.

“We are excited by the opportunity to tap into Slooh’s network of amateur astronomers, who are already producing scientific papers with their work,” said Jason Kessler, program executive for the Asteroid Grand Challenge. “We look forward to expanding the meaningful science the Slooh network can provide in support of the grand challenge.”

Together NASA and Slooh will hold live astronomy events, an effort they hope will increase the number of people participating in space developments as they happen. The first live event will be the LINEAR comet meteor shower May 23-24.

NASA hopes future events will include live NASA commentary, and Slooh plans to provide relevant observation data from these events to be used for future grand challenge citizen science efforts.

“This partnership is a great validation of our approach to engage the public in the exploration of space,” said Michael Paolucci, founder and CEO of Slooh. “NASA understands the importance of citizen science and knows a good way to get amateur astronomers involved is to offer them ways to do productive astronomy.” 

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

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