In a candid interview for “Asteroid Education”, Eric Christensen, Director of the Catalina Sky Survey and an Asteroid Day Expert, says that for NASA to meet its congressional mandate to find 90 percent of the 140 meter asteroid population, that need new ground- and space-based assets are needed to accelerate the rate of discovery.
The full transcript from this Episode:
In order to accelerate the pace of discovery, the community would need larger and dedicated assets. These would include larger ground-based telescopes, potentially dedicated space based infra red telescopes. NASA has a mandate to find the 140 meter population to the 90% level. With our current technology. With the Catalina Sky Survey telescopes and the other active surveys like Pan-Starrs, like Atlas, like NEOWISE, like LINEAR. The resources that we have available to us are insufficient to actually make significant headway on that goal in a short number of years. If no new telescopes were built and we were able to run the existing systems, it would take us many many decades, potentially hundreds of years to actually complete the task that we have to find the 140 meter and larger population. Larger telescopes that are dedicated to Near Earth Asteroid survey are neccessary.