Catalina Sky Survey
The mission of the Catalina Sky Survey is to contribute to the inventory of near-earth objects (NEOs), or more specifically, the potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) that pose an impact risk to Earth and its inhabitants.
The identification of the iridium anomaly at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (Alvarez et al., 1980), associated Chicxulub impact crater (Hildebrand et al., 1991) and the Permian-Triassic "great dying" possibly being associated with Australian Bedout Crater (Becker et al., 2004) strongly suggest that impacts by minor planets play an important role in the evolution of life.
The primary goal of Spacewatch is to explore the various populations of small objects in the solar system, and study the statistics of asteroids and comets in order to investigate the dynamical evolution of the solar system. Spacewatch also finds potential targets for interplanetary spacecraft missions, provides followup astrometry of such targets, and finds objects that might present a hazard to the Earth.