NASA-funded Asteroid-tracking Sensor Passes Key Performance Test

by

An asteroid-tracking infrared sensor that Camarillo, Calif.-based Teledyne Imaging Sensors developed with funding from NASA recently passed a performance test in a cryostat mimicking the temperatures and pressures of deep space, according to an April 15 NASA press release.

The sensor is a key component of the asteroid-hunting Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) telescope that NASA’s Pasadena, Calif.-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its partners at Teledyne and the University of Rochester, N.Y., first proposed to NASA’s Discovery Program in 2006 and again in 2010. NASA passed on the mission but agreed in 2010 to fund development work on NEOCam’s electronic detectors.

The NEOCam team intends to propose the mission again when NASA releases its next call for Discovery mission proposals in 2014 or 2015.

“This sensor represents one of many investments made by NASA’s Discovery Program and its Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program in innovative technologies to significantly improve future missions designed to protect Earth from potentially hazardous asteroids,” Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office in Washington, said in a statement.