Planetary Resources and NASA partnering to crowdsource asteroid detection

Planetary Resources “The Asteroid Mining Company” has announced a partnership with NASA

 to design and implement crowdsourcing algorithm challenges in the effort to detect, track and characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs).  All data compiled and used for these challenges will be open-sourced and publicly available.

Last summer PRI raised over $1.5M in a Kickstarter campaign to fund outreach programs, including a collaboration with the Zooniverse citizen science organization to create Asteroid Zoo. In Asteroid Zoo, volunteers via the web will scan a data set of over 3 million images obtained with the  Catalina Sky Survey to find and characterize near-earth objects.

The NASA partnership will build on this work:

Lindley Johnson, Program Executive of NASA’s near Earth object observation program, said, “This partnership uses NASA resources in innovative ways and takes advantage of public expertise to improve identification of potential threats to our planet.  This opportunity is one of many efforts we’re undertaking as part of our asteroid initiative.”

Today, there are approximately 620,000 asteroids that are tracked in our Solar System.  This number represents less than one percent of the estimated objects that orbit the Sun.  “While improving the algorithms to detect NEOs helps gain more data, additional surveys, telescopes and capability put to the search will also assist in completing the task of compiling a comprehensive open-sourced catalog,” continued Lewicki.

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