OpenSpace for Planetary Defense

OpenSpace for Planetary Defense

Co-founded by NASA astronauts Dr. Edward Lu and Rusty Schweickart, the B612 Foundation and its core program, the Asteroid Institute, are dedicated to discovering asteroids to protect our planet from impacts and inform global decisions related to planetary defense. The organization uses NASA-funded OpenSpace software to visualize the trajectories of asteroids over time. Utilizing the open nature of the software, they continuously add new observed measurements of asteroid trajectories into OpenSpace, enabling the organization to stay current with recent sightings. This additional step of uploading data into OpenSpace has been added to the organization’s scientific workflow in its Asteroid Decision Analysis and Mapping (ADAM) platform, which contextualizes asteroid trajectories within the dynamic solar system to better assess threats to Earth. They also use OpenSpace to visualize asteroid ephemerides in their scientific investigations of new algorithms for linking and discovering asteroids in astronomical data sets (see for example Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbital Recovery

Watch asteroids in OpenSpace:
Learn more about the B612 Foundation’s efforts:

The American Museum of Natural History Open Space project is supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AB93A and is part of NASA’s Science Activation Portfolio. Please visit to learn more.

A digital rendering of asteroids in orbit in space.

This image rendered in OpenSpace software visualizes the trajectories of asteroids using green trail lines.