The Watch...An Asteroid Research and Detection Project
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Objectives of The Watch

comet in flight
There is a danger facing the human race! Somewhere out there in the vast darkness of space, a time bomb is heading towards our fragile planet. The scientific evidence is in, and although it may not be imminent, the possibility of a large space borne object colliding with the Earth is very real. It has happened before, it will happen again. It is only a matter of time. Should such an impact occur, it would be cataclysmic, and could possibly mean the extinction of life on Earth.

Events such as the Shoemaker-Levy9 Comet impacts on Jupiter, Hollywood disaster films and various reports of near misses of the Earth and Moon by asteroids are at last awakening the public and policy leaders to this issue. These media events and the attention they have focused on the threat posed by Near Earth Objects (NEOs) have pointed out the lack of any cohesive international policies in this area. It has also become apparent that although some small amounts of funding are trickling down from governments to support this work, the funds are minimal, often politicized in their disbursement, usually limited to those observers in the funding nation, and spent in the wrong areas of the process. Clearly, support must be increased for those around the world who search our skies to find, characterize and track these objects.

The Watch Project was created to address these concerns. Our primary goals are:

To form a core group of the top experts in the field that can act in an advisory capacity to the media, entertainment field and governments.

To increase the non-governmental funds available to astronomers involved in the search for NEOs via new private sector initiatives.

To disburse these funds impartially based on input from those actually in the field and doing the work.

To begin planning concepts for what might need to be done should such Earth threatening objects be discovered.

To broaden the public discussion about NEOs to include the promise offered by these objects in the form of their recourses, and given the growing interest in their utilization, how they might best and safely be explored and used for the benefit of the people of Earth.

To develop means for amateur astronomers to effectively and usefully participate in the search for NEOs.

Comet photo courtesy NASA.

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