A Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.-built spacecraft is being employed by NASA in order to locate potentially hazardous asteroids near the Earth.
Ball announced Thursday that in using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, NASA has found there to be nearly 4,700 of the asteroids, the closest of which comes within five million miles of Earth.
The asteroids are large enough to pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and still cause damage at a regional or greater scale, the company said.
WISE played a role in the NEOWISE program, sampling 107 asteroids to make predictions about the entire asteroid population.
The mission study found there to be twice as many of the asteroids in lower inclination, which are more aligned with the Earth’s orbit, than was previously thought, according to the announcement.
WISE conducted the mission by scanning infrared light with its telescope and associated technology, which it used to then catalog millions of objects, the company reports.
The company is also providing NASA with a set of auxilary mirrors for the James Webb Space Telescope.