It's hardly the only project out there that's aiming to detect asteroids on a collision course with Earth before it's too late, but this effort backed by Defence Research Development Canada and the Canadian Space Agency does take a slightly different tact than most and, despite appearances above, it's apparently actually close to a launch. Dubbed the NEOSSat, the suitcase-sized satellite packs a 15-centimeter diameter telescope that's able to look for objects near the sun (something impossible to do from Earth), and it'll reportedly be able to stay in orbit around Earth for at least five years using no more power than a 60-watt light bulb. If all goes as planned, the satellite will hitch a ride into space sometime in 2010, when it'll take part in NASA's efforts to find 90 percent of the 95,000 near-Earth "space rocks" that are at least 140 meters in diameter before 2020.

[Via Slashdot, image courtesy of NEOSSat]

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