Channel Your Inner Astronaut and Help NASA Discover Asteroids!

NASA Seeks Public Help in Identifying Space Rocks


NASA is seeking public help with the Daily Minor Planet project. The Daily Minor Planet Project is a program that tracks and monitors small celestial bodies, such as asteroids and comets, orbiting near Earth. The project’s primary goal is to observe these objects and predict their future paths so that relevant authorities can be alerted if they pose any risk of colliding with Earth. This information is crucial for protecting our planet and keeping us safe from any potential impact events.

The Daily Minor Planet project is a citizen science project that invites people to help astronomers discover new asteroids in our solar system. It uses The Pan-STARRS1 telescope is, a wide-field imaging facility located on the summit of Haleakalā in Maui, Hawaii. It is designed to conduct a wide-area survey of the sky in multiple wavelengths, primarily aiming to detect and characterize near-Earth objects, such as asteroids and comets. Pan-STARRS1 uses a 1.8-meter diameter telescope equipped with a 1.4-gigapixel camera capable of imaging the entire visible sky every few days. Additionally, the telescope is equipped with various filters that allow astronomers to study objects at different wavelengths, from ultraviolet to near-infrared.

Participants help by accessing images of the sky taken by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope and then using a web interface to mark potential asteroid candidates. A team of professional astronomers then analyzes these candidates to determine whether they are known asteroids or newly discovered ones. This project allows people to contribute to the scientific community and helps us better understand the objects in our solar system.

NASA often encourages the public to get involved in the search for asteroids and other near-Earth objects. Several programs and initiatives, such as the citizen science project called “Target Asteroids!” allow amateur astronomers to contribute their observations and data to help NASA track and study asteroids. Additionally, there are several online resources and tools that anyone can use to learn more about asteroids and how to spot them. So if you’re interested in getting involved and helping out, there are definitely opportunities to do so!

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