The Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) is a new mission that is designed to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids that are near the Earth. NEOCam consists of an infrared telescope and a wide-field camera operating at thermal infrared wavelengths.
NEOCam has been funded for an extended Phase A study by NASA in the Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
NEOCam's primary science objectives are threefold:
- To assess the present-day risk of near-Earth object (NEO) impact.
- To study the origin and ultimate fate of our solar system's asteroids.
- To find the most suitable NEO targets for future exploration by robots and humans.
Asteroids and Comets
The NEOCam team is interested in learning everything we can about asteroids and comets throughout the solar system so that we can understand where they come from, what they're like today, and what's going to happen to them.
Discovering NEOs is not enough - we need to characterize them and understand their physical properties so that we can take appropriate action should one be found on an Earth-threatening trajectory.
Our science team seeks to understand their origins and evolution: how did asteroids and comets form, did they enable life, and how do they migrate around the solar system?
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