NEOCC orbit determination and impact monitoring software update
About two years ago, the NEOCC announced the full deployment of its orbit determination (OD) and impact monitoring (IM) software, developed and maintained by SpaceDyS s.r.l. through industrial contracts with ESA.
In the last months, all OD data and the entire risk list have been reprocessed using an updated version of the NEOCC software, which has now been renamed "Aegis".
The main updates introduced in this new version of the software are the adoption of the JPL DE441 Planetary and Lunar Ephemerides, the introduction of a new step-size formula for the propagation of orbits during close approaches, and an improved and more stable computation of the close approaches minimum distance. All these aspects aim to improve the calculation of OD and IM data. In addition, due to deep code optimisation and conversion to a dockerised architecture, the computation of IM data is now faster than before.
Finally, it is worth noting that the calculation of the Palermo Scale has changed from the old version of the software, in which the time to impact was defined as the interval between the mean epoch of observations and the date of impact. Currently, the Palermo Scale is calculated by considering the time to impact as the interval between the last IM calculation time and the potential event epoch.
A Planetary Defense Icon. Credit: ESA