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A Doctorate to protect Earth from hazardous asteroids

The follow-up of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids and comets is relevant as they can be source of real threat to Earth. We ask for your direct support to hire a brilliant graduated student that wants to complete his doctorate studying these objects using the largest telescopes available in Catalonia.

From 4.500€
Contribute to the project
View project in Català and Castellano

Choose your reward

*Do you like astronomy, asteroids, comets, and meteorites? *

*Are you aware of the importance of supporting young talents? *

Then, no doubt, this is your project!

By proposing this crowfunding, we wish to raise awareness about the need of supporting young researchers to give them the chance to complete their carriers.

There is a current hot research topic about the asteroid and comets impact hazard, and we got really motivated graduated students but not enough funding to hire them. Please keep reading and help us!


Space agencies from around the world are promoting programs to monitor these bodies, and patrol the skies. The JPL NEO program of NASA or NEO DyS of ESA are just two remarkable examples that popularize this area between the public. Then, several research programs around the world are looking for asteroids, and their new discoveries in the near-Earth vicinity make them popular and challenging visitors. Even sometimes their fragments produce huge fireballs and meteorites like occurred on Feb. 15, 2013 near Chelyabinsk. There is not reason so far to be alarmed, but the impact threat by potentially hazardous asteroids is latent.


At the Research Group on Meteorites, Minor Bodies and Planetary Sciences of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC) we deal with these fascinating topics related with asteroids, comets and their fragments producing meteorites.

We also study the interaction of these bodies with the atmosphere, monitoring the appearance of bolides over the Iberian Peninsula and keeping an online list of bright events (a really challenging effort to explain rationaly these bright phenomena): SPMN Fireball list

We also study meteorites from around the world, also granted by NASA, in order to better understand the composition of these fascinating rocks that arrived to Earth surface after traveling in space during millions of years. New clues on the origin of the solar system, their planets, comets and asteroids are included in their components. Moreover, the physical properties of meteorites can provide new clues on the nature of asteroids that can challenge our future on Earth. By knowing them better we will develop smart strategies to alleviate dangerous asteroid encounters in the future.


Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (NEAs) or even comets can reach the Earth unnoticed by current telescopic surveys. Depending of their approaches' geometry some of these bodies are unobservable and become really dangerous projectiles. Having several tens of meters in diameter, these bodies are particularly dangerous. They can be traced, however, during close approaches in the near-Earth region. Your funding will allow us to develop a research dedicated project to monitor the approach of dangerous asteroids using the Joan Oró Telescope at Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM), and also keep the work in monitoring the entrance of NEA fragments as bright bolides as we did with previous NEOs like e.g. 2012 DA14. We think that close approaches with Earth and other terrestrial planets are fragmenting these near-Earth asteroids, often disrupted by impacts, and the rocks or boulders are producing meteoroid streams. As we will get precise orbits of these objects, we will use our technical capabilities to follow asteroidal approaches and establishing orbital (dynamic) links with fireballs. The quality of our research is demonstrated because is published in peer-reviewed journals in the first quartil of their respective research areas. List of peer-reviewed publications of our research group


Why we propose crowdfunding? It is quite obvious that in this economic crisis young researchers have real difficulties to complete a doctorate when finishing their masters. Many researchers are having brilliant carriers and great scientific motivation, but they are not fitting exactly the restrictive grade point average required to be granted for a doctorate. Another reason is the limited number of available grants so the need of crowdfunding to avoid demotivation or even “brain drain” needs to be explored. By proposing this crowfunding, we wish to raise awareness about the need of supporting young researchers to give them the chance to complete their carriers. Some effort is being made officially, but it is not enough to include all brilliant students. We cannot lose bright brains in this way, and we should give them opportunities.

Consequently, from theResearch Group on Meteorites, Minor Bodies and Planetary Sciences of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC) we wish to offer an opportunity to one of our recently graduated master students. Some brilliant ones have been collaborating with our research group since before finishing their degree, and starting early with their training we know more about their motivation and capabilities. Recently, we have hired one Ph.D. student from our Spanish research project, but we want to offer a contract in practices to another bright student to allow him completing his Ph.D. thesis. This researcher will work in the follow-up of asteroids with medium-sized telescopes, together with the study and astrometric reduction of very bright bolides detected by the SPMN network that might be associated with large asteroid streams as Chelyabinsk, and then might be a potential source of impact hazard to humans.


As a by-product of his thesis and as a complement of the research is planned that the doctorate student will write peer-reviewed papers and several popular articles on the danger of impacts with asteroids and comets. List of outreach articles of our research group.

Crowdfunding contributions over € 100 from companies and individuals will appear in the acknowledgments section of the research and outreach articles generated by the doctorate. In this way we hope to return to the society some of the public support given during crowfunding. Thanks so much for your support!


It is simple, we need the money to complete our available IEEC funds in order to hire a brilliant graduated student during the next 2-3 years, starting in 2014. All the collected money will be used to provide a contract to the selected student.


Our candidate will complete the Ph.D. thesis in about 2-3 years since the date of hiring the student. This is feasible as the student has already been doing related research with us for about 3 years as demonstrate his peer-reviewed publications. The rewards to our crowfunding supporters will be given once the project will be granted, preferentially in a public event duly announced.


There are none published yet.

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