Near-Earth Object Surveyor (NEO Surveyor) moves to the next phase of mission development after a successful mission review, to have a NASA telescope specializing in discovering and characterizing most potentially dangerous asteroids and comets that are 45 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit,.
After completing the goal of discovering 90 percent of all NEOs over 1,000 meters in size in 2010, NASA was ordered to discover 90% of NEOs larger than 140 meters in size .
The agency is working to achieve this directive and has currently found approximately 40% of near-Earth asteroids within this size range. As Kelly Fast , program director for NASA’s NEO Observations Program, explains:
Every night astronomers around the world diligently use ground-based optical telescopes to discover new NEOs, characterize their shape and size, and those telescopes can only search for NEOs in the night sky. NEO Surveyor would allow observations to continue day and night, specifically targeting regions where near-Earth objects could be found that could pose a hazard and accelerate progress toward the Congressional goal.