An asteroid is a minor planet orbiting the Solar System. Usually their orbit is in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Half of the Main Belt is in the 4 mayor Asteroids: Cerere (is the first asteroid discovered in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi), Pallade, Vesta and Hygiea.
A small portion of the families of asteroids and comets orbit in the NEOs (Near Earth Objects) area. The NEOs are subdivided in NECs “Near Earth Comets” comets and NEAs “Near Earth Asteroids” Asteroids. There are three main groups of NEAs, according to the geometry of their orbit: Amor, Apollo and Aten. Due to their close encounter to the Earth, they present a risk of impact in the next future.
SpaceDyS has a strong background in the orbit determination field of asteroids and in particular of NEAs. The team has a long-time experience in the impact monitoring sector, that is the determination of the impact probability with the Earth. SpaceDyS is a worldwide leader together with Jpl – Nasa for carrying out this activity.
Since 1 September 2011 SpaceDyS has been responsible for the operational services and maintenance through an agreement Service Level Agreement (SLA) directly signed with ESA. NEODyS provides data of all NEAs and to their probability of impact. Furthermore SpaceDyS provides qualified researchers for the NEO Coordination Centre, which is located at ESRIN in Frascati (Rome), one of the ESA facilities.
Since 2016, SpaceDyS has been prime of an important project, which is the Migration of the services of NEODyS to ESA. This process implies the integral rewriting and the documentation of the code used for the orbital determination and impact monitoring.