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Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grant Program

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.

Support this project

Since founding the grant program in 1997, The Planetary Society has awarded 49 Shoemaker NEO grants totaling about $323,000 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


Project Updates

Apply for a Shoemaker NEO Grant! Deadline extended to June 24

Emily Lakdawalla • June 08, 2010

Amateur astronomers, get your proposals in for this year's round of Shoemaker NEO Grants!

Making a difference through the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Emily Lakdawalla • March 18, 2010

Amir Alexander has just posted an update on the activities of the most recent winners of the Shoemaker NEO Grants.

Updates on Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • March 18, 2010

Our past Shoemaker NEO grant recipients have once again shown themselves to be a hardworking and enterprising group.

Propose for a Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grant

Emily Lakdawalla • March 17, 2010

Are you a serious amateur astronomer who enjoys the challenge of following up on the discoveries of faint near-Earth objects?

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

Amir Alexander • February 13, 2010

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.

WISE has found its first comet, P/2010 B2 (WISE)

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2010

Having discovered its first asteroid on January 12, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has now officially discovered its first comet, P/2010 B2 (WISE).

Apophis is less scary than it used to be

Bruce Betts • October 07, 2009

Based on analyses of previously unstudied telescopic data, NASA scientists have released new predictions for the path of the 300-meter-diameter asteroid Apophis.

More from the Planetary Defense Conference: Shoemaker Grant Winners

Bruce Betts • April 27, 2009

More from the Planetary Defense Conference: Shoemaker Grant Winners

Updates on the 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • April 27, 2009

Our 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners have been extremely busy over the past two years. Take for example Quanzhi Ye of Guangzhou, China: He was only 18 when he received the award but already the principal investigator of the sky survey at the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan.

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More on NEO Grants

A Cosmic Voyage with Astronomer Sandra Faber

July 05, 2017 • 1:04:12

Veteran astronomer and cosmologist Sandra Faber has just been awarded the Gruber Prize for Cosmology, honoring more than forty years of pioneering work. She talks with Mat Kaplan on this week’s show.

Dinosaurs vs. Asteroids - The Planetary Post

June 30, 2017 • 3:33

The dinosaurs didn't have a space program, but we do! Learn more about what we're doing to protect the Earth from asteroids and how you can help.

Happy Asteroid Day!

June 28, 2017 • 39:08

Asteroid Day, June 30th, marks the anniversary of the great Tunguska impact that leveled a Siberian forest. It reminds us that a Near Earth Object can destroy a city or even a civilization. Former Minor Planet Center Director Tim Spahr reviews our efforts to find and understand these bodies.

How to Save the World from Asteroids Together

June 26, 2017 • 2:22

No matter how you look at it, asteroid impact is an international issue that requires international coordination. Watch this video to learn what is required for an international disaster response to an asteroid threatening Earth.

Intro Astronomy 2017. Class 7: Asteroids and the Asteroid Threat

March 07, 2017 • 1:29:12

Lecture 7 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2017 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers asteroids and the near Earth asteroid threat to Earth (including statistics, past impacts, and information on the Chelyabinsk fireball). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Intro Astronomy 2016. Class 7: Asteroids and the Asteroid Threat

March 15, 2016 • 1:29:14

Lecture 7 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2016 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers asteroids and the near Earth asteroid threat to Earth (including statistics, past impacts, and information on the Chelyabinsk fireball). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.


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