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The Ness project uses NEOSSat's space telescope to discover asteroids of the inner Solar System. NESS is contributing to the international science community's efforts to find and track near-Earth asteroids and comets.
NEOSSat is designed to specifically look for Aten asteroids that can’t be seen from the ground because of the scattering of the sun’s light in the atmosphere.
■To use NEOSSat to discover new near-Earth asteroids by searching the sky along the ecliptic plane as close to the Sun as its microsatellite custom baffle design allows (to within 45° of the Sun). This search will focus on two groups of asteroids; one called Atens (asteroids with orbits mostly within the Earth`s (although they cross Earth’s orbit at their farthest points from the Sun) and, in particular, Atiras (asteroids whose entire orbit is within Earth’s).
■To conduct follow-up tracking of any near-Earth asteroids discovered by NEOSSat and other search programs.
■To assess potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) by better defining their orbital parameters.
■To monitor comets when they come close to the Sun, and to check suspected comets for outgassing activity.
■To provide ground-based radar-imaging programs with accurate targeting locations.
“Once we detect and track them, we can project their orbit and then forecast ahead — sometimes years or decades [in advance] — where and when they will cross Earth’s orbit.