What are NEO's?

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 1996

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What are NEOs? Where do they come from? Do they pose any real threat to

Earth? Can they provide viable space resources? All of these questions are now under investigation by planetary scientist.         There are two highly recognized research programs that I will discuss with you. The Spaceguard program is sponsored and run by NASA Ames Space Science Division: Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazard. Also under the direction of Dr. Tom Gehrels the University of Arizona has the Spacewatch program.

        NEOs can be either asteroid or comets. Ninety percent of the information that I came across discussed asteroids. Therefore, I will concentrate on asteroids alone. I'm not fully knowledgeable on the subject but I did learn a great deal.

        What are NEOs? The "Webster's New World Dictionary" states, "Any of the small planets between Mars and Jupiter". The "Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia from Infopedia" states, "One of the many small or minor planets that are members of the solar system and that move in elliptical orbits primarily between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter".

        Where dot they come from? The NEOs are small objects (

        Do they pose any real threat to Earth? The Earth orbits the Sun in sort of a cosmic shooting gallery, subject to impacts from asteroids. It is only fairly recent that we have come to appreciate that these impacts by asteroids pose a significant hazard to life and property. Although the annual probability of the Earth being struck by a large asteroid is extremely small, the consequences of such a collision are so devastating that it is prudent to assess the nature of the threat and prepare to deal with it.

        Studies have shown that the risk from a cosmic impact increases with the size of the projectile. The greatest risk is...