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Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grant Program


April 17, 2013
Just Announced the 2013 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

There were 16 proposers from 10 countries with five winners (of those, 3 are previous Shoemaker NEO winners) receiveing $34,307!

Find out who is on the list »


To find and track near-Earth objects (NEOs) to determine which -- if any -- pose a threat to our world, The Planetary Society has established the Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants. Shoemaker grants are awarded to amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and professional astronomers who, with seed funding, can greatly increase their programs' contributions to NEO research.

Grant recipients have played critical roles in tracking small asteroids that were discovered by major asteroid survey programs, and providing the crucial follow-up observations to determine precise orbits for these objects. They have also contributed NEO discoveries and characterizations of the properties of NEOs. Through these observations and others, supported by Society members and their donations, the Society is playing an active role in helping to ‘retire’ some of the risk of impact from NEOs and to reveal the properties of these interesting and valuable targets for future exploration.

The program honors pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, who did so much to help us understand the process of impact cratering on the planets and the nature of the NEO population, and seeks to assist amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and under-funded professional observers contributing to vital NEO research.

Since founding the grant program in 1997, The Planetary Society has awarded 38 Shoemaker NEO grants totaling more than $235,000 to observers from 16 different countries on 5 continents. You can follow the efforts of past grant recipients through their contributions to the Planetary Society Blog and the Planetary Radio podcast

If you are interested in seeing what the process is for proposing for a Shoemaker NEO Grant, you may see the last round's Call for Proposals for more information and How to Submit a Proposal for submission details, and the rest of this section and this blog for additional background.  The last round of proposals was due February 4, 2013.

Project Updates

Shoemaker Winner Hug Discovers Near Earth Asteroid 2013 AS27

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/01/10 04:43 CST | 8 comments

Using a Planetary Society provided camera, Gary Hug in Kansas, USA discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 AS27 on Jan. 7, 2013. Shoemaker winner Bob Holmes provided the first follow up observations of this 140m-310m wide asteroid.

Read More »

Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/11/19 10:06 CST | 9 comments

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013.

Read More »

Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/02 05:54 CDT

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

Read More »

Saving the World: Established 1997

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/09/21 01:00 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.

Read More »

Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/15 06:33 CDT

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

Read More »

More Evidence for Impact Origin for Colombia’s Vichada Structure

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/08 03:43 CDT

Evidence continues to pile up that the Rio Vichada structure in Colombia is indeed the largest impact structure in South America.

Read More »

La Sagra Observatory discovers very near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14

Posted by Jaime Nomen on 2012/03/27 05:20 CDT | 3 comments

With a new CCD camera configured to shoot rapid, short exposures bought with a Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant we caught near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14.

Read More »

Shoemaker NEO Grant Update: Asteroid discoveries from La Sagra

Posted by Jaime Nomen on 2011/08/22 04:41 CDT

In spite of some bad weather conditions during the first part of this year, the new camera bought with funds from a Planetary Society Shoemaker Near Earth Object grant helped us to discover and confirm ten new near-Earth objects.

Read More »

Planetary Society Researcher Max Rocca Discovers Largest Impact Crater in South America

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2010/02/13 12:00 CST

It was January of 2004 when the elegant curve of the Vichada first caught the attention of geologist Max Rocca of Buenos Aires. Could the course of the river have been shaped by the circular outlines of an impact crater? Rocca decided to find out.

Read More »

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More on NEO Grants

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 7: Near Earth Asteroids, Jupiter System

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Lecture 7 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2014 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers the near Earth asteroid threat to Earth (including statistics, past impacts, and information on the Chelyabinsk fireball), introduces the Jupiter system, and includes an interview with Tim Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Saving Earth: Asteroid Emergency Tabletop Exercise at the 2013 PDC

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Kindred Spirits: Alison Gibbings and Carolyn Shoemaker at the Planetary Defense Conference

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Our special coverage of the PDC continues with two planetary scientists separated by almost 60 years in age, but with similar dedication and enthusiasm for saving the planet.

More Info & Listen »

2013 Planetary Defense Conference--Part 4: Bill Nye the Science Guy!

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The Planetary Society's CEO was a wildly popular speaker at the PDC public event on April 17, 2013. Here's his presentation to over 900 fans on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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