Validation of the Survey Simulator Tool for the NEO Surveyor Mission Using NEOWISE Data

Joseph R. Masiero, Dar W. Dahlen, Amy K. Mainzer, William F. Bottke, Jennifer C. Bragg, James M. Bauer, Tommy Grav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Near-Earth Object Surveyor (NEO Surveyor) mission has a requirement to find two-thirds of the potentially hazardous asteroids larger than 140 m in size. In order to determine the mission’s expected progress toward this goal during design and testing, as well as the actual progress during the survey, a simulation tool has been developed to act as a consistent and quantifiable yardstick. We test that the survey simulation software is correctly predicting on-sky positions and thermal infrared fluxes by using it to reproduce the published measurements of asteroids from the NEOWISE mission. We then extended this work to find previously unreported detections of known near-Earth asteroids in the NEOWISE data archive, a search that resulted in 21,661 recovery detections, including 1166 objects that had no previously reported NEOWISE observations. These efforts demonstrate the reliability of the NEO Surveyor Survey Simulator tool and the perennial value of searchable image and source catalog archives for extending our knowledge of the small bodies of the solar system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number225
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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