Asteroid Hunting

Faculty Lead: Carrie Nugent

Student Researchers

  • Camille Xue '20
  • Noah D’Souza '21
  • Nicole Tan (Wellesley College '20)

External Collaborators

  • James “Gerbs” Bauer, Research Professor, University of Maryland

Research Objectives

This is a three-year grant from NASA to detect asteroids in archival images. These images were taken by the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) survey. NEAT was a pioneering scientific effort that operated from 1995 to 2007. The survey discovered more than 40,000 minor planets and hundreds of comets. 

Nugent, Bauer, and a team of students will re-analyze the archived NEAT images. With the aid of modern software techniques, such as machine learning, they will identify near-Earth asteroids and comets in the data. 


Nugent and Bauer estimate that this work will double the number of asteroids detected in the NEAT data.

This research project was made possible through a grant from NASA.