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Arecibo gets $19M grant to find and study NEOs

28 Aug 2019, 12:00 UTC
Arecibo gets $19M grant to find and study NEOs
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Arecibo asteroid hunters. Lead scientist Anne Virkki (center) reviews images with research scientist Flaviane Venditti (left) and postdoctoral scientist Sean Marshall (right). In the coming 4 years, under terms of the new grant, they will use the big dish at Arecibo Observatory for up to 800 hours a year to find and analyze near-Earth objects, including both asteroids and small comets. Image via UCF.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) – which manages the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on behalf of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) – announced on August 26, 2019, that it has received a big NASA grant to observe and characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs) that pose a potential hazard to Earth or that could be candidates for future space missions. Total for the four-year grant: $19 million.
That’s a big investment in Arecibo, which has been using radar to analyze NEOs for some years now, since the mid-90s observing some 60 to 120 objects per year. Yet this observatory has had funding concerns in recent years, which are now, for the immediate future, solved. In a statement, UCF commented that the team of asteroid hunters at Arecibo expects:
… to gain a lot of knowledge ...

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