Finding asteroids before they find us
The Near-Earth Object Surveyor (NEO Surveyor) is a space telescope that is designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts by using infrared bands to detect, track, and characterize Near Earth Objects (NEOs)—asteroids and comets that come within 48 million kilometers (30 million miles) of Earth’s orbit. NEO Surveyor consists of a single scientific instrument: a 50 centimeter (nearly 20 inch) diameter telescope that operates in two heat-sensing infrared wavelengths. It will be capable of detecting both bright and dark asteroids, which are the most difficult type to find. Scheduled to launch in 2026, the mission will help fulfill a Congressional mandate to catalog more than 90 percent of all NEOs larger than 140 meters (460 feet) across.
Launch Date: planned for 2026
Prime Mission: 5 years
Lead Institution: University of Arizona
Lead Funding Agency: NASA
Partners: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech, Ball Aerospace, Space Dynamics Laboratory, Teledyne Imaging Sensors