The first issue of the newsletter published by the European project NEOROCKS (Near-Earth Object Rapid Observation, Characterization and Key Simulations) is out! You can download it from the project website https://www.neorocks.eu/. NEOROCKS is a EU Horizon 2020 project aimed at improving our knowledge on the physical properties (e.g size, shape, composition) of the small celestial bodies (NEO – Near-Earth Objects) passing dangerously close to our planet.
The newsletter presents in a friendly and plain language some of the major topics addressed. As an example, carrying out extensive data mining into astronomical archives has proven a powerful mean to dig out serendipitous detections of asteroids. Historical highlights show the connection between NEOs and the origin of chaos in celestial mechanics. Entertaining yet informative contributions include an analysis of the science behind the “Don’t look up!” movie and a section for kids. The “Neorockers”, as they are used to intruduce themselves, are a team of European scientists and astronomers led by INAF, the National institute for Astrophysics.
ASI is fully involved in the fellowship, which encompasses a large network of European astronomical observatories and research institutions. The ASI Space Science Data Center (SSDC) will permanently host and further evolve the databases and the tools developed during the project while the long-standing experience of the Agency in international relations is worth a leadership role for tracing a roadmap towards the future.
(Images from "Let's Draw the Universe", an initiative aimed at primary schools inUmbria, organized by the University of Perugia and sponsored by the Italian Space Agency)