alexa Near-Earth

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Near-Earth

We have used Minor Planet Center (MPC) data and tools to explore the discovery circumstances and properties of the currently known population of over 10,000 NEAs, and to quantify the challenges for follow-up from ground-based optical telescopes. The increasing rate of discovery has grown to ∼1000/year as surveys have become more sensitive, by 1 mag every ∼7.5 years. However, discoveries of large (H≤22) NEAs have remained stable at ∼365/year over the past decade, at which rate the 2005 Congressional mandate to find 90% of 140 m NEAs will not be met before 2030 (at least a decade late). Meanwhile, characterization is falling farther behind: Fewer than 10% of NEAs are well characterized in terms of size, rotation periods, and spectral composition, and at the current rates of follow-up it will take about a century to determine them even for the known population.
 
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