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NEO Grants
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The Planetary Society recently awarded Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants to five researchers: Peter Birtwhistle of England, Erich Meyer of Australia, Gianluca Masi of Italy, James W. Ashley of the U.S., and David J. Higgins of Australia, to study hazardous Near Earth Objects (comets and asteroids).

The grants are given to amateur observers, and professional astronomers.
The grant is named after Gene Shoemaker, a leader in the NEO field.

John Broughton, a past recipient, had discovered the asteroid 2004 GA1, a potentially hazardous NEO larger than 1 kilometre in diameter.

"Catastrophic impacts happen in our solar system. It may be a small probability threat, but the consequences are so dire we need to invest the time and money to determine which - if any - objects pose a threat" - Bruce Betts, the Planetary Society Director of Projects.

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