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Asteroids, Italy is the protagonist of monitoring from the ground and from space


The renovated Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (Neocc) was inaugurated at the center of ESA in Italy, Esrin, while the mini satellite LICIACube (ANSA) will be launched at the end of November

Italy confirms itself at the forefront of asteroid monitoring, both from Earth and from space: the renewed Near-Earth Object Coordination was inaugurated at the center of the European Space Agency (Esa9 in Italy, the Esrin in Frascati (Rome) Center (Neocc), which will monitor the orbits of asteroids and comets by evaluating the danger of bodies approaching the Earth; at the end of November, however, the Italian mini satellite LICIACube will be launched, built in the Argotec plants in Turin with the funding and collaboration of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), to document the last moments of NASA's 'kamikaze' Dart probe, the first to try to hit an asteroid to change its trajectory.

The LICIACube team supporting mission operations is an all-Italian team and includes researchers from the National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf), the Milan Polytechnic, the University of Bologna, the Parthenope University of Naples and Ifac-Cnr from Florence.

"Planetary defense is a priority for Italy, as can also be seen from the participation in the first experiment in the deflection of asteroids", comments the president of ASI, Giorgio Saccoccia. “Our country has supported ESA programs dedicated to space security from the very beginning, as an opportunity aimed at offering global value to the skills of the Italian scientific community whose work is focused on the danger of asteroids. Over the years, ESA has progressed in key areas of impact monitoring, asteroid tracking and discovery observation, thanks to the extraordinary work of a team of highly skilled experts. The state-of-the-art logistics environment inaugurated today at Esrin deserves to be mentioned.A clear sign that we are on the right path towards the protection of our planet and its citizens ”.

Specifically, the new NEOCC center will represent the access point to an entire European data network to determine the orbit and risk of impact of these ancient celestial bodies, proposing, where necessary, measures to mitigate any damage. The new headquarters will also act as the main hub for daily observational data from future ESA Flyeye telescopes, the first of which is currently being assembled and integrated at OHB Italia's facilities in Turate, near Como.

"Our new Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (Neocc) and its activities are an important tool for international cooperation, reflecting the global character of the dangers that all of us may face from asteroids," says the director general of the Esa, Josef Aschbacher. "ESA's Planetary Defense Office is in close contact with all major organizations that monitor asteroid risk, from NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office and their Center for Neo Studies, to the UN committees that help to coordinate the global effort The Office for Planetary Defense is also carrying out the technical management of the recently launched activities on space security in collaboration with the European Union.Our activities are part of a global community effort, and the Neocc demonstrates that Europe and ESA in particular can bring something substantial and indispensable to the table. "

Source: ansa

All tech articles on 2021-10-12

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