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The term Spaceguard loosely refers to a number of efforts to discover and study near-Earth objects (NEO). Arthur C. Clarke coined the term in his novel "Rendezvous with Rama" with SPACEGUARD as the name of an early warning system created following a catastrophic asteroid impact on Italy. This name was later adopted by a number of real life efforts to discover and study near-Earth objects.

A 1992 U.S. Congressional study produced a "Spaceguard Survey Report" which led to a mandate that NASA locate 90% of large near-Earth asteroids within 10 years. This is often referred to as the "Spaceguard Goal." A number of efforts which receive money through NASA are all considered be working on the "Spaceguard Project."

The Working Group on Near-Earth Objects (WGNEO) of the International Astronomical Union presented a paper in 1995 titled "Beginning the Spaceguard Survey" which led to an international organization called the "Spaceguard Foundation."

Subsequently there have been Spaceguard associations or foundations formed in countries around the world to support the ideas of discovering and studying near-Earth objects. Generally, the Spaceguard organizations formed within individual countries are associated with the international foundation or with the U.S. efforts only by name, common interests, and similar goals.

Asteroids are discovered by telescopes which repeatedly survey large areas of sky. Efforts which concentrate on discovering NEOs are considered part of the "Spaceguard Survey," regardless of which organization they are affiliated with.

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