The ESA NEO Coordination Centre (NEOCC) is the operational centre of ESA’s Planetary Defence Office (PDO) within the Space Safety Programme (S2P). It is located at ESA's establishment ESRIN (Frascati, Italy). Its aim is to coordinate and contribute to the observation of small Solar System bodies in order to evaluate and monitor the threat coming from Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).
This requires the availability of advanced systems for orbit computation and impact monitoring, as well as tools and data needed for performing risk assessments (e.g. follow-up priorities, physical properties database). The PDO operates a set of applications, called the NEO software system. The NEO software system provides information not only to scientific users, but also to other Space Safety customers and stakeholders, such as governmental institutions, insurance companies, the public at large and the media. The stepwise deployment of the NEO system began with a Precursor Services phase, continued by a so-called 'Phase 2' and 'Phase 3'. It is now in ‘Period 1’ of the Space Safety programme.
The key components of the NEO Precursor Services accessible via the PDO web portal are:
- Search for NEOs: dynamical and physical characteristics of any given object;
- Catalogues of Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs): complete or filtered NEA lists sorted by parameters (e.g. discovery date, semimajor axis etc.);
- Impact monitoring: lists of potentially dangerous objects and the associated parameters (e.g. impact probability, Palermo scale, orbit uncertainty);
- Close approaches: lists objects passing closer than 0.2 au from the Earth;
- Observer's aid: provides priority criteria for planning follow-up observations;
- Orbit visualisation: graphical display of the orbital motion of any NEA;
- Image archive: searchable catalogue of astronomical images provided by ESA's telescopes (or telescopes under agreement with the Agency):
- Education and public outreach sections.
The NEO system services rely on the daily processing of NEO data performed by the Aegis software and on information of NEA physical properties previously provided by the so-called EARN database.
We kindly acknowledge Gerhard Hahn (retired from DLR) for providing the EARN data and for keeping our physical properties database updated until October 2018. No updates have been performed to the physical properties database since then.
Access to the NEO system data is public; authentication is required for certain elements (sky images and other measurement data) and tools.