The Watch...An Asteroid Research and Detection Project
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meteor impact
The Watch was started with a grant of $50,000 provided by the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS).

These funds are to be leveraged into what we plan to be at least a one million dollar a year (U.S.) revenue stream, using fundraising methods and events that have worked well in areas such as the arts and humanities, but have never been tried in the astronomical community. For example, many a concert hall or opera house has been built by allowing benefactors the privilege of placing their names, the company they own or work for, or the names of a loved one on a particular event or series, or physically on the backs of the seats, or even on the building itself.

The analogy in this arena is that we will be working with the recipients of our funding to place the names of benefactors on the objects their funds help discover. This plays into a long tradition in astronomy, wherein discoverers of such objects are allowed to submit their own chosen names to the world's recognized naming organization (The Small Body Nomenclature Committee of the International Astronomical Union). In the past asteroids have been named for family members, benefactors, musicians such as the Beatles and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and sports stars. Although we will not promise a one to one relationship between donations and naming rights, this tradition exists, and the promise of continued funding for their work will assure a great deal of cooperation from the researchers involved. Considering the cause, and the fact that one of these discovered objects may be the sought for Earth-Killer, we believe that many astronomers will put aside possible objections to the commercial feel of this endeavor and join us enthusiastically. The ends in this case definitely justify the means.

Impact artwork by Don Foley, courtesy NASA.

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