Spaceguard UK is the leading organisation in the United Kingdom dedicated to the promotion of British participation in the growing international programme to detect Earth crossing asteroids and comets and to protect the Earth from potentially catastrophic collisions.
Spaceguard UK is non-governmental and receives no external funding.
Spaceguard UK was established in 1996 to pursue the following aims:
- To promote and encourage British activities involving the discovery and follow-up observations of Near Earth Objects.
- To promote the study of the physical and dynamic properties of asteroids and comets, with particular emphasis on Near Earth Objects.
- To promote the establishment of an international, ground based surveillance network (the Spaceguard Project) for the discovery, observation and follow-up study of Near EarthObjects.
- To provide a national United Kingdom information service to raise public awareness of the Near Earth Object threat, and technology available to predict and avoid dangerous impacts.
Members of Spaceguard UK have already been active in promoting the assessment of the United Kingdom’s contribution to the international NEO detection effort. A number of well-publicised meetings have been precipitated by the activities of Spaceguard UK, taking the subject of Planetary Defence from the realm of a handful of experts to the corridors of the House of Commons and the British media. Spaceguard UK is acknowledged as the prime UK non-governmental organisation concerned with Planetary Defence and the impact threat, and is the most influential body of its type in the country.
Current activities are concentrated on ensuring that the consensus achieved at the meetings of the UK NEO Working Group is transformed into meaningful action by the British government and organisations world-wide. This will be achieved through continued co-operation with relevant national and international institutions, an active and ongoing media campaign and the dissemination of information to the general public by physical and electronic means. In addition, Spaceguard UK is developing a sensible and feasible action plan for the development of a UK project to detect and study potentially threatening near Earth objects, as part of the growing international programme.
Over the past ten years members of Spaceguard UK have been involved in numerous television appearances, radio broadcasts, and have had more than twenty articles published in popular and professional journals. In addition, over 200 public lectures have been delivered country-wide.
The headquarters of Spaceguard UK, the Spaceguard Centre, opened in 2001, and has welcomed over 40,000 visitors.