Sample records for surfaces comets asteroids

  1. Comet or Asteroid? (United States)


    -sunward tail seen in most comets. Still, these observations indicate that the object resembles a typical comet much more than originally thought. This is also supported by the fact that its orbit, calculated on the basis of positional observations during the past month, has been found to be moderately elongated (eccentricity 0.36). The mean distance to the Sun is 6.67 AU (1000 million kilometres), but it comes as close as 4.25 AU (635 million kilometres) at its perihelion. The orbital period is about 17 years. More observations needed! It will be interesting to follow this new object in coming years. Will it remain `cometary' or will the unusual tail disappear after a while? Could it be that some `asteroids' in `cometary' orbits, if observed in more detail with a larger telescope, as was done in this case with the NTT, will also turn out to have a faint coma and even a tail? It is at this moment still unknown which implications the discovery of apparently `intermediate' objects may have on our understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system. In particular, it is not at all clear whether they represent a completely new class of objects with an internal structure (and composition?) that is significantly different from a `dirty-snowball' cometary nucleus or a rocky asteroid. It may also be that some asteroids have substantial deposits of icy material on or near the surface that may be set free under certain circumstances and mimic cometary activity. This might in theory happen by collisions with other, smaller objects or due to an internal heat source. Only further observations of such objects will allow to tell. Where to find more information Here are some WWW-addresses where more useful information may be obtained about the comet/asteroid phenomenon: * - Small Bodies Group at the DLR (Berlin, Germany) * - Asteroids' page of the Uppsala planetary system group (Sweden) *

  2. Asteroids, meteorites, and comets

    CERN Document Server

    Elkins-Tanton, Linda T


    Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites provides students, researchers, and general readers with the most up-to-date information on this fascinating field. From the days of the dinosaurs to our modern environment, this book explores all aspects of these cosmic invaders.

  3. Ultraviolet Characterization of Comet and Asteroid Surfaces as Observed by the Rosetta Alice Instrument (Invited) (United States)

    Feaga, L. M.; Holt, C. E.; Steffl, A.; Stern, S. A.; Bertaux, J. L.; Parker, J. W.; A'Hearn, M. F.; Feldman, P.; Keeney, B. A.; Knight, M. M.; Noonan, J.; Vervack, R. J., Jr.; Weaver, H. A., Jr.


    In 2016, Alice, NASA's lightweight and low-power far-ultraviolet (FUV) imaging spectrograph onboard ESA's comet-orbiting spacecraft Rosetta, completed a 2-year characterization of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (C-G), a bi-lobed Jupiter family comet with extreme seasons and diverse surface features. In addition to coma studies, Alice monitored the sunlit surface of C-G from 700-2050 Å to establish the FUV bidirectional reflectance properties and albedo of the surface, determine homogeneity, correlate spectral features with morphological regions, and infer the compositional makeup of the comet. The heliocentric distance coverage (3.7 AU from the Sun, through perihelion at 1.24 AU, and back out to 3.8 AU) over a period of 2 years and spatial resolution of the Alice data (e.g., 30 m by 150 m at the comet from a spacecraft distance of 30 km) resulted in the first resolved observations of a cometary nucleus in the FUV throughout much of its orbit. Upon arrival in 2014, initial characteristics and properties of the surface were derived for the northern hemisphere, revealing a dark, homogeneous, and blue-sloped surface in the FUV with an average geometric albedo of 5% at 1475 Å, consistent with a homogeneous layer of dust covering that hemisphere and similar to nucleus properties derived for this and other comets in the visible. Now, with a fully calibrated dataset, properties of the southern and northern hemispheres, before and after perihelion, have been quantified and preliminarily show minimal change in the comet's surface in the FUV through the apparition. Analyses are ongoing and we will highlight any detected variability. En-route to C-G, Alice made history during the flybys of asteroid (2867) Steins and (21) Lutetia obtaining the first global FUV reflectivity measurement and acquiring spatially resolved observations of an asteroid surface, respectively. The asteroid properties will be compared to those derived for C-G to demonstrate commonalities across small bodies

  4. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2014 (United States)

    Muinonen, K.; Penttilä, A.; Granvik, M.; Virkki, A.; Fedorets, G.; Wilkman, O.; Kohout, T.


    Asteroids, Comets, Meteors focuses on the research of small Solar System bodies. Small bodies are the key to understanding the formation and evolution of the Solar System, carrying signals from pre-solar times. Understanding the evolution of the Solar System helps unveil the evolution of extrasolar planetary systems. Societally, small bodies will be important future resources of minerals. The near-Earth population of small bodies continues to pose an impact hazard, whether it be small pieces of falling meteorites or larger asteroids or cometary nuclei capable of causing global environmental effects. The conference series entitled ''Asteroids, Comets, Meteors'' constitutes the leading international series in the field of small Solar System bodies. The first three conferences took place in Uppsala, Sweden in 1983, 1985, and 1989. The conference is now returning to Nordic countries after a quarter of a century. After the Uppsala conferences, the conference has taken place in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A. in 1991, Belgirate, Italy in 1993, Paris, France in 1996, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A. in 1999, in Berlin, Germany in 2002, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2005, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. in 2008, and in Niigata, Japan in 2012. ACM in Helsinki, Finland in 2014 will be the 12th conference in the series.

  5. Reducing the Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazard (United States)

    Crawford, David


    Of the 140 impact craters known on the surface of Earth, the most famous was created about 65 million years ago when a 10 km asteroid or comet came down in shallow water near the present day town of Chicxulub, Mexico. With a kinetic energy equivalent to 100 trillion tons of TNT, the impact event lofted enough debris onto globe-straddling trajectories to flash heat much of the surface of the Earth and then darken the skies for several years. Numerous investigations have demonstrated that such an event, which happens, on average, every 100 million years, caused extreme stress on Earth's climate and most likely led to the extinction of many species. Computational simulations demonstrate that more numerous asteroids or comets as small as 1 km in diameter, impacting, on average, every 300,000 years may be globally catastrophic. Indeed, the odds of an individual dying from a relatively frequent 1 km impacting object (about 1 in 10,000) are substantially greater than from the impact of an infrequent dinosaur killer (1 in 1,000,000). What can we do to reduce the hazard from impacting comets and asteroids? First, we should find what's out there with our name on it. Only about 10 percent of the potential Earth-crossing asteroids have been found. Even at the greatly increased detection rate of recent years, it will be several decades before we've found 90 percent of the Earth-crossers. Second, we should learn everything we can about the physical, compositional and mechanical properties of asteroids and comets. A recent computational study demonstrated that weakly bound asteroids (little more than rubble piles) are easier to break than deflect(E. Asphaug, S. J. Ostro, R. S. Hudson, D. J. Scheeres and W. Benz (1998), Nature, Vol. 393, pp. 437-440.). Is this an advantage or disadvantage? Third, we should study potential means of mitigating the hazard by deflecting the object while still in space or evacuating affected regions (such as coastlines) of the Earth. Because the

  6. Dormant Comets in the Near-Earth Asteroid Population

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mommert, Michael; Harris, Alan W.; Mueller, Michael; Hora, Joseph L.; Trilling, David E.; Knight, Matthew; Bottke, William F.; Thomas, Cristina; Delbo', Marco; Emery, Josh P.; Fazio, Giovanni; Smith, Howard A.


    The population of near-Earth objects comprises active comets and asteroids, covering a wide range of dynamical parameters and physical properties. Dormant (or extinct) comets, masquerading as asteroids, have long been suspected of supplementing the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population. We present a

  7. Asteroid-comet continuum objects in the solar system. (United States)

    Hsieh, Henry H


    In this review presented at the Royal Society meeting, 'Cometary science after Rosetta', I present an overview of studies of small solar system objects that exhibit properties of both asteroids and comets (with a focus on so-called active asteroids). Sometimes referred to as 'transition objects', these bodies are perhaps more appropriately described as 'continuum objects', to reflect the notion that rather than necessarily representing actual transitional evolutionary states between asteroids and comets, they simply belong to the general population of small solar system bodies that happen to exhibit a continuous range of observational, physical and dynamical properties. Continuum objects are intriguing because they possess many of the properties that make classical comets interesting to study (e.g. relatively primitive compositions, ejection of surface and subsurface material into space where it can be more easily studied, and orbital properties that allow us to sample material from distant parts of the solar system that would otherwise be inaccessible), while allowing us to study regions of the solar system that are not sampled by classical comets.This article is part of the themed issue 'Cometary science after Rosetta'. © 2017 The Author(s).

  8. Collisional Processing Of Comet And Asteroid Surfaces: Velocity Effects On Absorption Spectra (United States)

    Jensen, Elizabeth; Lederer, S. M.; Wooden, D. H.; Lindsay, S. S.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Keller, L. P.; Cintala, M. J.; Zolensky, M. E.


    A new paradigm has emerged where 3.9 Gyr ago, a violent reshuffling reshaped the placement of small bodies in the solar system (the Nice model). Surface properties of these objects may have been affected by collisions caused by this event, and by collisions with other small bodies since their emplacement. These impacts affect the spectroscopic observations of these bodies today. Shock effects (e.g., planar dislocations) manifest in minerals allowing astronomers to better understand geophysical impact processing that has occurred on small bodies. At the Experimental Impact Laboratory at NASA Johnson Space Center, we have impacted forsterite and enstatite across a range of velocities. We find that the amount of spectral variation, absorption wavelength, and full width half maximum of the absorbance peaks vary non-linearly with the velocity of the impact. We also find that the spectral variation increases with decreasing crystal size (single solid rock versus granular). Future analyses include quantification of the spectral changes with different impactor densities, temperature, and additional impact velocities. Results on diopside, fayalite, and magnesite can be found in Lederer et al., this meeting. Funding was provided by the NASA PG&G grant 09-PGG09-0115, NSF grant AST-1010012, and a Cottrell College Scholarship through the Research Corporation.

  9. Laboratory Studies of Cometary Materials - Continuity Between Asteroid and Comet (United States)

    Messenger, Scott; Walker, Robert M.


    Laboratory analysis of cometary samples have been enabled by collection of cometary dust in the stratosphere by high altitude aircraft and by the direct sampling of the comet Wild-2 coma by the NASA Stardust spacecraft. Cometary materials are composed of a complex assemblage of highly primitive, unprocessed interstellar and primordial solar system materials as well as a variety of high temperature phases that must have condensed in the inner regions of the protoplanetary disk. These findings support and contradict conclusions of comet properties based solely on astronomical observations. These sample return missions have instead shown that there is a continuity of properties between comets and asteroids, where both types of materials show evidence for primitive and processed materials. Furthermore, these findings underscore the importance and value of direct sample return. There will be great value in comparing the findings of the Stardust cometary coma sample return mission with those of future asteroid surface sample returns OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa II as well as future comet nucleus sample returns.

  10. Comets, Asteroids, and the Origin of the Biosphere (United States)

    Hoover, Richard B.


    During the past few decades, the role of comets in the delivery of water, organics, and prebiotic chemicals to the Biosphere of Earth during the Hadean (4.5-3.8 Ga) period of heavy bombardment has become more widely accepted. However comets are still largely regarded as frigid, pristine bodies of protosolar nebula material that are entirely devoid of liquid water and consequently unsuitable for life in any form. Complex organic compounds have been observed comets and on the water rich asteroid 1998 KY26, which has color and radar reflectivity similar to the carbonaceous meteorites. Near infrared observations have indicated the presence of crystalline water ice and ammonia hydrate on the large Kuiper Belt object (50000) Quaoar with resurfacing that may indicate cryovolcanic outgassing and the Cassini spacecraft has detected water-ice geysers on Saturn s moon Enceladus. Spacecraft observations of the chemical compositions and characteristics of the nuclei of several comets (Halley, Borrelly, Wild 2, and Tempel 1) have now firmly established that comets contain a suite of complex organic chemicals; water is the predominant volatile; and that extremely high temperatures (approx.350-400 K) can be reached on the surface of the very black (albedo-0.03) nuclei when the comets are with 1.5 AU from the Sun. Impact craters and pinnacles observed on comet Wild 2 suggest a thick crust and episodic outbursts and jets observed on the nuclei of several comets are interpreted as indications that localized regimes of liquid water and water vapor can periodically exist beneath the crust of some comets. The Deep Impact observations indicate that the temperature on the nucleus of of comet Tempel 1 at 1.5 AU varied from 330K on the sunlit side to a minimum of 280+/-8 K. It is interesting that even the coldest region of the comet surface was slightly above the ice/liquid water phase transition temperature. These results suggest that pools and films of liquid water can exist in a wide

  11. Surface heterogeneity of small asteroids (United States)

    Sasaki, Sho

    A rubble pile model of asteroid origin would predict averaged rather homogeneous surface of an asteroid. Previous spacecraft observations (mostly S-type asteroids) did not show large color/albedo variation on the surface. Vesta would be exceptional since HST observation suggested that its surface should be heterogeneous due to the impact excavation of the interior. As for a young asteroid (832) Karin (age being 5Ma), Sasaki et al. (2004) detected variation of infrared spectra which could be explained by the difference of the space weathering degree. They discussed the possibility of the survival of the old surface. However, the variation was not confirmed by later observation (Chapman et al., 2007; Vernazza et al., 2007). Recent observation of a small (550m) asteroid Itokawa by Hayabusa spacecraft revealed that Itokawa is heterogeneous in color and albedo although the overall rocky structure is considered as a rubble pile (Saito et al., 2006). The color difference can be explained by the difference of weathering degree (Ishiguro et al., 2008). The heterogeneity could be explained by mass movement caused by rapid rotation from YORP effect (Scheeres et al., 2007) or seismic shaking (Sasaki, 2006). Probably small silicate asteroids without significant regolith could have heterogeneous in color and albedo. On large asteroids (˜ a few 10km), regolith reaccumulation should have covered the underlying heterogeneity. References: Chapman, C. R. et al (2007) Icarus, 191, 323-329 Ishiguro, M. et al. (2008) MAPS, in press. Saito, J. et al. (2006) Science, 312, 1341-1344 Sasaki, S. (2006) in Spacecraft Reconnaissance of Asteroid and Comet Interiors Sasaki, T. et al (2004) Astrophys. J. 615, L161-L164 Scheeres, D. J. (2007) Icarus 188, 425-429 Vernazza, P. et al. (2007) Icarus 191, 330-336.

  12. Comets, Asteroids, Meteorites, and the Origin of the Biosphere (United States)

    Hoover, Richard B.


    photoautotrophs and chemolithotrophs such as the motile filamentous cyanobacteria (e.g., Calothrix, Oscillatoria, Phormidium, and Spirulina) that grow in geothermal springs and geysers of Earth at temperatures ranging fiom 320K to 345K and are also found growing in cold polar desert soils. The mineralized remains of morphotypes of all of these cyanobacteria have also been found in the Orgueil CI1 and the Murchison CN2 carbonaceous meteorites that may derive from cometary parent bodies. Observational results that support the hypothesis that liquid water can in active regions just beneath the surface of comets and that comets, carbonaceous meteorites, and asteroids may have played a significant role in the origin and evolution of the Biosphere and in the distribution of microbial life throughout the Solar System.

  13. Water Reservoirs in Small Planetary Bodies: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets (United States)

    Alexander, Conel M. O'D.; McKeegan, Kevin D.; Altwegg, Kathrin


    Asteroids and comets are the remnants of the swarm of planetesimals from which the planets ultimately formed, and they retain records of processes that operated prior to and during planet formation. They are also likely the sources of most of the water and other volatiles accreted by Earth. In this review, we discuss the nature and probable origins of asteroids and comets based on data from remote observations, in situ measurements by spacecraft, and laboratory analyses of meteorites derived from asteroids. The asteroidal parent bodies of meteorites formed ≤ 4 Ma after Solar System formation while there was still a gas disk present. It seems increasingly likely that the parent bodies of meteorites spectroscopically linked with the E-, S-, M- and V-type asteroids formed sunward of Jupiter's orbit, while those associated with C- and, possibly, D-type asteroids formed further out, beyond Jupiter but probably not beyond Saturn's orbit. Comets formed further from the Sun than any of the meteorite parent bodies, and retain much higher abundances of interstellar material. CI and CM group meteorites are probably related to the most common C-type asteroids, and based on isotopic evidence they, rather than comets, are the most likely sources of the H and N accreted by the terrestrial planets. However, comets may have been major sources of the noble gases accreted by Earth and Venus. Possible constraints that these observations can place on models of giant planet formation and migration are explored.

  14. Delivery of organics to Mars through asteroid and comet impacts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Frantseva, K.; Mueller, M.; van der Tak, F. F. S.; ten Kate, I. L.; Greenstreet, S.


    Preliminary results show that the asteroid-borne organic flux on Mars is comparable to the IPD rate; asteroids certainly cannot be neglected. Comets, on the other hand, contribute only 0.01% of the IDP-borne rate and can be neglected in the process of organic delivery to Mars.

  15. Interception of comets and asteroids on collision course with earth

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Solem, J.C.


    I derive expressions for the weight and range of applicability of interceptors capable of deflecting a comet or asteroid on collision course with Earth. The expressions use a fairly general relationship between the energy deposited and the mass of material blown off the astral assailant. To assess the probability that the astral assailant will fracture, I also calculate the fraction of the astral assailant`s mass that will be blown off. The interaction is calculated for both kinetic-energy deflection and nuclear-explosive deflection. In the nuclear-explosive case, I calculate the interceptor mass and cratering effect for detonations above the surface and below the surface as well as directly on the surface of the astral assailant. Because the wide range of densities and material properties that the astral assailant may possess, the principal value of this work is to show the relationships among the salient parameters of the problem.

  16. Unveiling Clues from Spacecraft Missions to Comets and Asteroids through Impact Experiments (United States)

    Lederer, Susan M.; Jensen, Elizabeth; Fane, Michael; Smith, Douglas; Holmes, Jacob; Keller, Lindasy P.; Lindsay, Sean S.; Wooden, Diane H.; Whizin, Akbar; Cintala, Mark J.; hide


    The Deep Impact Spacecraft mission was the first to boldly face the challenge of impacting the surface of a comet, 9P/Tempel 1, to investigate surface and subsurface 'pristine' materials. The Stardust mission to Comet 81P/Wild 2 brought back an exciting surprise: shocked minerals which were likely altered during the comet's lifetime. Signatures of shock in meteorites also suggest that the violent past of the solar system has left our small bodies with signatures of impacts and collisions. These results have led to the question: How have impacts affected the evolutionary path taken by comets and asteroids, and what signatures can be observed? A future planetary mission to a near-Earth asteroid is proposing to take the next steps toward understanding small bodies through impacts. The mission would combine an ESA led AIM (Asteroid Impact Mission) with a JHU/APL led DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Mission) spacecraft to rendezvous with binary near-Earth asteroid 65803 Didymus (1996 G2). DART would impact the smaller asteroid, 'Didymoon' while AIM would characterize the impact and the larger Didymus asteroid. With these missions in mind, a suite of experiments have been conducted at the Experimental Impact Laboratory (EIL) at NASA Johnson Space Center to investigate the effects that collisions may have on comets and asteroids. With the new capability of the vertical gun to cool targets in the chamber through the use of a cold jacket fed by liquid nitrogen, the effects of target temperature have been the focus of recent studies. Mg-rich forsterite and enstatite (orthopyroxene), diopside (monoclinic pyroxene) and magnesite (Mg-rich carbonate) were impacted. Target temperatures ranged from 25 deg to -100 deg, monitored by connecting thermocouples to the target container. Impacted targets were analyzed with a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Here we present the evidence for impact-induced shock in the minerals through

  17. Guide to the universe asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets

    CERN Document Server

    Rivkin, Andrew


    This volume in the Greenwood Guides to the Universe series covers asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets-those small bodies that revolve the Sun-and provides readers with the most up-to-date understanding of the current state of scientific knowledge about them. Scientifically sound, but written with the student in mind, Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets is an excellent first step for researching the exciting scientific discoveries of the smallest celestial bodies in the solar system.||The book will introduce students to all of the areas of research surrounding the subject, answering many intr

  18. Understanding the Effects of Collisional Evolution and Spacecraft Impact Experiments on Comets and Asteroids (United States)

    Lederer, S.M.; Jensen, E.A.; Fane, M.; Smith, D.C.; Holmes, J.; Keller, L.P.; Lindsay, S.S.; Wooden, D.H.; Whizin, A.; Cintala, M.J.; hide


    Comets and asteroids have endured impacts from other solar system bodies that result in outcomes ranging from catastrophic collisions to regolith evolution due to micrometeorid bombardment of the surface ices and refactory components. Experiments designed to better understand these relics of solar system formation have been conducted on Earth in a laboratory setting, as well as in space through, e.g., the Deep Impact Mission to Comet Tempel 1. Deep Impact fired a high-speed impactor into the roughly 6 km nucleus of the comet. The ejecta plume generated by the impact was studied by both spacecraft instrumentation and groundbased telescopes.

  19. Physical properties of asteroids in comet-like orbits in infrared asteroid survey catalogs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kim, Yoonyoung; Ishiguro, Masateru [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, Gwanak, Seoul 151-742 (Korea, Republic of); Usui, Fumihiko [Department of Astronomy, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033 (Japan)


    We investigated the population of asteroids in comet-like orbits using available asteroid size and albedo catalogs of data taken with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, AKARI, and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer on the basis of their orbital properties (i.e., the Tisserand parameter with respect to Jupiter, T{sub J}, and the aphelion distance, Q). We found that (1) there are 123 asteroids in comet-like orbits by our criteria (i.e., Q > 4.5 AU and T{sub J} < 3), (2) 80% of them have low albedo, p{sub v} < 0.1, consistent with comet nuclei, (3) the low-albedo objects among them have a size distribution shallower than that of active comet nuclei, that is, the power index of the cumulative size distribution is around 1.1, and (4) unexpectedly, a considerable number (i.e., 25 by our criteria) of asteroids in comet-like orbits have high albedo, p{sub v} > 0.1. We noticed that such high-albedo objects mostly consist of small (D < 3 km) bodies distributed in near-Earth space (with perihelion distance of q < 1.3 AU). We suggest that such high-albedo, small objects were susceptible to the Yarkovsky effect and drifted into comet-like orbits via chaotic resonances with planets.

  20. Weird comets and asteroids the strange little worlds of the sun's family

    CERN Document Server

    Seargent, David A J


    This book concentrates on some of the odd aspects of comets and asteroids. Strange behavior of comets, such as outbursts and schisms, and how asteroids can temporally act as comets are discussed, together with the possible threat of Centaurs-class objects like the Taurid complex. Recent years have seen the distinction between comets and asteroids become less prominent. Comets in "asteroid" orbits and vice versa have become almost commonplace and a clearer view of the role of small bodies in the formation of the Solar System and their effect on Earth has become apparent. Seargent covers this development in detail by including new data and information from space probes. .

  1. Unveiling clues from Spacecraft Missions to Comets and Asteroids through Impact Experiments (United States)

    Lederer, Susan M.; Jensen, Elizabeth; Fane, Michael; Smith, Douglas; Holmes, Jacob; Keller, Lindsay P.; Lindsay, Sean S.; Wooden, Diane H.; Whizin, Akbar; Cintala, Mark J.; Zolensky, Michael


    The Deep Impact Spacecraft mission was the first to boldly face the challenge of impacting the surface of a comet, 9P/Tempel 1, to investigate surface and subsurface 'pristine' materials. The Stardust mission to Comet 81P/Wild 2 brought back an exciting surprise: shocked minerals which were likely altered during the comet's lifetime. Signatures of shock in meteorites also suggest that the violent past of the solar system has left our small bodies with signatures of impacts and collisions. These results have led to the question: How have impacts affected the evolutionary path taken by comets and asteroids, and what signatures can be observed?A future planetary mission to a near-Earth asteroid is proposing to take the next steps toward understanding small bodies through impacts. The mission would combine an ESA led AIM (Asteroid Impact Mission) with a JHU/APL led DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Mission) spacecraft to rendezvous with binary near-Earth asteroid 65803 Didymus (1996 G2). DART would impact the smaller asteroid, 'Didymoon' while AIM would characterize the impact and the larger Didymus asteroid.With these missions in mind, a suite of experiments have been conducted at the Experimental Impact Laboratory (EIL) at NASA Johnson Space Center to investigate the effects that collisions may have on comets and asteroids. With the new capability of the vertical gun to cool targets in the chamber through the use of a cold jacket fed by liquid nitrogen, the effects of target temperature have been the focus of recent studies. Mg-rich forsterite and enstatite (orthopyroxene), diopside (monoclinic pyroxene) and magnesite (Mg-rich carbonate) were impacted. Target temperatures ranged from 25°C to -100°C, monitored by connecting thermocouples to the target container. Impacted targets were analyzed with a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Here we present the evidence for impact-induced shock in the minerals through

  2. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Asteroids, Meteors, Comets (United States)


    Reports included:Long Term Stability of Mars Trojans; Horseshoe Asteroids and Quasi-satellites in Earth-like Orbits; Effect of Roughness on Visible Reflectance Spectra of Planetary Surface; SUBARU Spectroscopy of Asteroid (832) Karin; Determining Time Scale of Space Weathering; Change of Asteroid Reflectance Spectra by Space Weathering: Pulse Laser Irradiation on Meteorite Samples; Reflectance Spectra of CM2 Chondrite Mighei Irradiated with Pulsed Laser and Implications for Low-Albedo Asteroids and Martian Moons; Meteorite Porosities and Densities: A Review of Trends in the Data; Small Craters in the Inner Solar System: Primaries or Secondaries or Both?; Generation of an Ordinary-Chondrite Regolith by Repetitive Impact; Asteroid Modal Mineralogy Using Hapke Mixing Models: Validation with HED Meteorites; Particle Size Effect in X-Ray Fluorescence at a Large Phase Angle: Importance on Elemental Analysis of Asteroid Eros (433); An Investigation into Solar Wind Depletion of Sulfur in Troilite; Photometric Behaviour Dependent on Solar Phase Angle and Physical Characteristics of Binary Near-Earth-Asteroid (65803) 1996 GT; Spectroscopic Observations of Asteroid 4 Vesta from 1.9 to 3.5 micron: Evidence of Hydrated and/or Hydroxylated Minerals; Multi-Wavelength Observations of Asteroid 2100 Ra-Shalom: Visible, Infrared, and Thermal Spectroscopy Results; New Peculiarities of Cometary Outburst Activity; Preliminary Shape Modeling for the Asteroid (25143) Itokawa, AMICA of Hayabusa Mission; Scientific Capability of MINERVA Rover in Hayabusa Asteroid Mission; Characteristics and Current Status of Near Infrared Spectrometer for Hayabusa Mission; Sampling Strategy and Curation Plan of Hayabusa Asteroid Sample Return Mission; Visible/Near-Infrared Spectral Properties of MUSES C Target Asteroid 25143 Itokawa; Calibration of the NEAR XRS Solar Monitor; Modeling Mosaic Degradation of X-Ray Measurements of 433 Eros by NEAR-Shoemaker; Scattered Light Remediation and Recalibration of

  3. Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society An Interdisciplinary Approach

    CERN Document Server

    Bobrowsky, Peter T


    In 1908 an atmospheric explosion in northern Siberia released energy equivalent to 15 Mton of TNT. Can a comparable or larger NEO affect us again? When the next NEO strikes Earth will it be large enough to destroy a city? Will the climate change significantly? Can archaeology and anthropology provide insights into the expected cultural responses with NEO interactions? Does society have a true grasp of the actual risks involved? Is the Great Depression a good model for the economic collapse that could follow a NEO catastrophe? This volume provides a necessary link between various disciplines and comet/asteroid impacts.

  4. The asteroid-comet continuum from laboratory and space analyses of comet samples and micrometeorites (United States)

    Engrand, Cecile; Duprat, Jean; Bardin, Noemie; Dartois, Emmanuel; Leroux, Hugues; Quirico, Eric; Benzerara, Karim; Rémusat, Laurent; Dobrică, Elena; Delauche, Lucie; Bradley, John; Ishii, Hope; Hilchenbach, Martin; COSIMA Team


    Comets are probably the best archives of the nascent solar system, 4.5 Gyr ago, and their compositions reveal crucial clues on the structure and dynamics of the early protoplanetary disk. Anhydrous minerals (olivine and pyroxene) have been identified in cometary dust for a few decades. Surprisingly, samples from comet Wild2 returned by the Stardust mission in 2006 also contain high temperature mineral assemblages like chondrules and refractory inclusions, which are typical components of primitive meteorites (carbonaceous chondrites - CCs). A few Stardust samples have also preserved some organic matter of comet Wild 2 that share some similarities with CCs. Interplanetary dust falling on Earth originate from comets and asteroids in proportions to be further constrained. These cosmic dust particles mostly show similarities with CCs, which in turn only represent a few percent of meteorites recovered on Earth. At least two (rare) families of cosmic dust particles have shown strong evidences for a cometary origin: the chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles (CP-IDPs) collected in the terrestrial stratosphere by NASA, and the ultracarbonaceous Antarctic Micrometeorites (UCAMMs) collected from polar snow and ice by French and Japanese teams. The Rosetta mission currently carries dust analyzers capable of measuring dust flux, sizes, physical properties and compositions of dust particles from the Jupiter family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (COSIMA, GIADA, MIDAS), as well as gas analyzers (ROSINA, PTOLEMY, COSAC). A growing number of evidences highlights the existence of a continuum between asteroids and comets, already in the early history of the solar system. We will present the implications of the analyses of samples in the laboratory and in space to a better understanding of the early protoplanetary disk.

  5. Perspectives on Comets, Comet-like Asteroids, and Their Predisposition to Provide an Environment That Is Friendly to Life. (United States)

    Bosiek, Katharina; Hausmann, Michael; Hildenbrand, Georg


    In recent years, studies have shown that there are many similarities between comets and asteroids. In some cases, it cannot even be determined to which of these groups an object belongs. This is especially true for objects found beyond the main asteroid belt. Because of the lack of comet fragments, more progress has been made concerning the chemical composition of asteroids. In particular, the SMASSII classification establishes a link between the reflecting spectra and chemical composition of asteroids and meteorites. To find clues for the chemical structure of comets, the parameters of all known asteroids of the SMASSII classification were compared to those of comet groups like the Encke-type comets, the Jupiter-family comets, and the Halley-type comets, as well as comet-like objects like the damocloids and the centaurs. Fifty-six SMASSII objects similar to comets were found and are categorized as comet-like asteroids in this work. Aside from the chemistry, it is assumed that the available energy on these celestial bodies plays an important role concerning habitability. For the determination of the available energy, the effective temperature was calculated. Additionally, the size of these objects was considered in order to evaluate the possibility of a liquid water core, which provides an environment that is more likely to support processes necessary to create the building blocks of life. Further study of such objects could be notable for the period of the Late Heavy Bombardment and could therefore provide important implications for our understanding of the inner workings of the prebiotic evolution within the Solar System since the beginning.

  6. Comet Hunters: A Citizen Science Project to Search for Comets in the Main Asteroid Belt (United States)

    Hsieh, Henry H.; Schwamb, Megan Elizabeth; Zhang, Zhi-Wei; Chen, Ying-Tung; Wang, Shiang-Yu; Lintott, Chris


    Fully automated detection of comets in wide-field surveys remains a challenge, as even highly successful comet-finding surveys like Pan-STARRS rely on a combination of both automated flagging algorithms and vetting by human eyes. To take advantage of the long-noted superiority of the human eye over computer algorithms in certain types of pattern recognition, particularly when dealing with a range of target morphologies of interest, we have created a citizen science website with the aim of allowing the general public to aid in the search for active asteroids, which are objects that occupy dynamically asteroidal orbits yet exhibit comet-like dust emission due to sublimation, impact disruption, rotational destabilization, or other effects. Located at, the Comet Hunters website was built using the Zooniverse Project Builder (, and displays images of known asteroids obtained either from archival data obtained between 1999 and 2014 by the Suprime-Cam wide-field imager mounted on the 8-m Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, or more contemporary data obtained by the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) wide-field imager also on the Subaru Telescope as part of the ongoing HSC Subaru Strategic Program (SSP) survey. By using observations from such a large-aperture telescope, most of which have never been searched for solar system objects, much less cometary ones, we expect that volunteers should be able to make genuinely scientifically significant discoveries, and also provide valuable insights into the potential and challenges of searching for comets in the LSST era. To date, over 13,000 registered volunteers have contributed 350,000 classifications. We will discuss the design and construction of the Comet Hunters website, and also discuss early results from the project.This work uses data generated via the platform, development of which was supported by a Global Impact Award from Google, and by the Alfred P. Sloan

  7. Internal gravity, self-energy, and disruption of comets and asteroids (United States)

    Dobrovolskis, Anthony R.; Korycansky, D. G.


    The internal gravity and self-gravitational energy of a comet, asteroid, or small moon have applications to their geophysics, including their formation, evolution, cratering, and disruption, the stresses and strains inside such objects, sample return, eventual asteroid mining, and planetary defense strategies for potentially hazardous objects. This paper describes the relation of an object's self-energy to its collisional disruption energy, and shows how to determine an object's self-energy from its internal gravitational potential. Any solid object can be approximated to any desired accuracy by a polyhedron of sufficient complexity. An analytic formula is known for the gravitational potential of any homogeneous polyhedron, but it is widely believed that this formula applies only on the surface or outside of the object. Here we show instead that this formula applies equally well inside the object. We have used these formulae to develop a numerical code which evaluates the self-energy of any homogeneous polyhedron, along with the gravitational potential and attraction both inside and outside of the object, as well as the slope of its surface. Then we use our code to find the internal, external, and surface gravitational fields of the Platonic solids, asteroid (216) Kleopatra, and comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as well as their surface slopes and their self-gravitational energies. We also present simple spherical, ellipsoidal, cuboidal, and duplex models of Kleopatra and comet 67P, and show how to generalize our methods to inhomogeneous objects and magnetic fields. At present, only the self-energies of spheres, ellipsoids, and cuboids (boxes) are known analytically (or semi-analytically). The Supplementary Material contours the central potential and self-energy of homogeneous ellipsoids and cuboids of all aspect ratios, and also analytically the self-gravitational energy of a "duplex" consisting of two coupled spheres. The duplex is a good model for "contact binary

  8. Dawn of small worlds dwarf planets, asteroids, comets

    CERN Document Server

    Moltenbrey, Michael


    This book gives a detailed introduction to the thousands and thousands of smaller bodies in the solar system. Written for interested laymen, amateur astronomers and students it describes the nature and origin of asteroids, dwarf planets and comets, and gives detailed information about their role in the solar system. The author nicely reviews the history of small-world-exploration and describes past, current and future space craft missions studying small worlds, and presents their results. Readers will learn that small solar system worlds have a dramatically different nature and appearance than the planets. Even though research activity on small worlds has increased in the recent past many of their properties are still in the dark and need further research.

  9. Comet and Asteroid Hazard to the Terrestrial Planets (United States)

    Ipatov, S. I.; Mather, J. C.; Oegerle, William (Technical Monitor)


    We made computer simulations of orbital evolution for intervals of at least 5-10 Myr of N=2000 Jupiter-crossing objects (JCOs) with initial orbits close to those of real comets with period P less than 10 yr, 500 objects with orbits close to that of Comet 10P, and the asteroids initially located at the 3:1 and 5:2 resonances with Jupiter at initial eccentricity e(sub 0)=0.15 and initial inclination i(sub 0)=10(sup 0). The gravitational influence of all planets, except for Mercury and Pluto, was taken into account (without dissipative factors). We calculated the probabilities of collisions of bodies with the terrestrial planets, using orbital elements obtained with a step equal to 500 yr, and then summarized the results for all bodies, obtaining, the total probability Psigma of collisions with a planet and the total time interval Tsigma during which perihelion distance q of bodies was less than a semimajor axis of the planet. The values of p(sub r) =10(exp 6)Psigma/N and T(sub r)=T/1000 yr (where T=Tsigma/N) are presented in a table together with the ratio r of the total time interval when orbits were of Apollo type (at a greater than 1 AU, q less than 1.017 AU, e less than 0.999) to that of Amor type (1.017 less than q less than 1.33 AU), r(sub 2) is the same as r but for Apollo objects with e less than 0.9. For asteroids we present only results obtained by direct integration, as a symplectic method can give large errors for these resonances.

  10. Comets, Asteroids and Rubble Piles: not just debris (United States)

    Harold, J. B.; Dusenbery, P.


    The National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute (NCIL @ SSI) is developing a variety of asteroids related education activities as part of several E/PO projects, including Finding NEO (funded through NSF and NASA SMD); Great Balls of Fire! (funded through NSF); and a partnership with the WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) mission. These activities range from a web site to traveling exhibits in three different sizes. The Killer Asteroids web site ( includes background information on comets and asteroids as well as a number of interactive activities and games. These include a game that compares the risk of death from an asteroid impact to other hazards; a game and video vignettes on the role of backyard astronomers in light curve research; a physics-based asteroid deflection game; and a Google Earth -based "drop a rock on your house" activity. In addition, the project is developing a small, portable exhibit suitable for use in libraries or visitors centers. Great Balls of Fire! includes two separate traveling exhibitions: a 3000 square foot exhibition for science centers, and a 500 square foot version for smaller venues. Both will begin national tours in the summer of 2011. The Great Balls of Fire! exhibit program includes a free Education Program for docents and educators, and an Outreach Program to amateur astronomers around the country through the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s (ASP) Astronomy from the Ground Up program. The project will facilitate partnerships between host venues and local astronomy clubs that can interact with the public using a toolkit of activities developed by ASP. Great Balls of Fire! Represents a collaboration between scientists, educators, exhibit designers, graphic artists, evaluators, education researchers, and three teams of middle school students who acted as advisors. The project’s exhibit design firm is Jeff Kennedy Associates Inc. We will present a summary of the

  11. The impact imperative: Laser ablation for deflecting asteroids, meteoroids, and comets from impacting the earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Campbell, Jonathan W.; Phipps, Claude; Smalley, Larry; Reilly, James; Boccio, Dona


    Impacting at hypervelocity, an asteroid struck the Earth approximately 65 million years ago in the Yucatan Peninsula area. This triggered the extinction of almost 70% of the species of life on Earth including the dinosaurs. Other impacts prior to this one have caused even greater extinctions. Preventing collisions with the Earth by hypervelocity asteroids, meteoroids, and comets is the most important immediate space challenge facing human civilization. This is the Impact Imperative. We now believe that while there are about 2000 earth orbit crossing rocks greater than 1 kilometer in diameter, there may be as many as 200,000 or more objects in the 100 m size range. Can anything be done about this fundamental existence question facing our civilization? The answer is a resounding yes! By using an intelligent combination of Earth and space based sensors coupled with an infra-structure of high-energy laser stations and other secondary mitigation options, we can deflect inbound asteroids, meteoroids, and comets and prevent them from striking the Earth. This can be accomplished by irradiating the surface of an inbound rock with sufficiently intense pulses so that ablation occurs. This ablation acts as a small rocket incrementally changing the shape of the rock's orbit around the Sun. One-kilometer size rocks can be moved sufficiently in about a month while smaller rocks may be moved in a shorter time span

  12. ExploreNEOs. VIII. Dormant Short-period Comets in the Near-Earth Asteroid Population

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mommert, M.; Harris, A. W.; Müller, M.; Hora, J. L.; Trilling, D. E.; Bottke, W. F.; Thomas, C. A.; Delbo, M.; Emery, J. P.; Fazio, G.; Smith, H. A.


    We perform a search for dormant comets, asteroidal objects of cometary origin, in the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population based on dynamical and physical considerations. Our study is based on albedos derived within the ExploreNEOs program and is extended by adding data from NEOWISE and the Akari

  13. Direct Characterization of Comets and Asteroids via Cosmic Dust Analysis from the Deep Space Gateway (United States)

    Fries, M.; Fisher, K.


    The Deep Space Gateway can allow direct analysis of dust from over a dozen comets, using an instrument similar to the successful Cassini Dust Analyzer (CDA). Long-term measurements are preferred. Compositions of over a dozen asteroids and comets can be obtained.

  14. Orbit determination for the Mariner Mark II Comet Rendezvous/Asteroid Flyby mission - The orbiting phase (United States)

    Weeks, C. J.


    The Comet Rendezvous/Asteroid Flyby (CRAF) mission is the first of the Mariner Mark II mission set, designed to explore the outer solar system. Major objectives of orbit determination will be determine the positions and masses of the comet and asteroid and the relative position of the spacecraft, which is important to accurate pointing of the scan platform on which the narrow angle camera and scientific instruments are positioned. Position prediction is also important, since continuous commuication with the spacecraft will not be possible. The small gravitational attractions and poorly known ephemerides of the comet and asteroid, and the small, slow spacecraft orbit about the comet, pose significant new problems for orbit determination. Results of simulations studying the effectiveness of key data types, the accuracies of estimates, and prediction capabilities, are presented.

  15. Electrostatic forces on grains near asteroids and comets

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hartzell Christine


    Full Text Available Dust on and near the surface of small planetary bodies (e.g. asteroids, the Moon, Mars’ moons is subject to gravity, cohesion and electrostatic forces. Due to the very low gravity on small bodies, the behavior of small dust grains is driven by non-gravitational forces. Recent work by Scheeres et al. has shown that cohesion, specifically van der Waals force, is significant for grains on asteroids. In addition to van der Waals cohesion, dust grains also experience electrostatic forces, arising from their interaction with each other (through tribocharging and the solar wind plasma (which produces both grain charging and an external electric field. Electrostatic forces influence both the interactions of grains on the surface of small bodies as well as the dynamics of grains in the plasma sheath above the surface. While tribocharging between identical dielectric grains remains poorly understood, we have recently expanded an existing charge transfer model to consider continuous size distributions of grains and are planning an experiment to test the charge predictions produced. Additionally, we will present predictions of the size of dust grains that are capable of detaching from the surface of small bodies.

  16. Distribution of Jupiter-family asteroids and comets in near-Earth space (United States)

    Emel'yanenko, V.


    We analyze the orbital distribution of objects captured to near-Earth space from the flux of comets coming from the outer Solar system. For this purpose, we use the model of the cometary cloud developed earlier. This model is consistent with the broad dynamical characteristics of observed near-parabolic comets, short-period comets, Centaurs and higheccentricity trans-Neptunian objects. We show that the observed distribution of near-Earth objects moving in cometary orbits is different from the modelled distribution formed dynamically by the action of planetary perturbations. In particular, while the distributions of arguments of perihelion for observed Jupiter-family comets and modelled cometary objects follow a sinusoidal law with pronounced maxima around 0 and 180 degrees, it is not the case for the distribution of observed cometary asteroids. We discuss those factors which could lead to this inconsistency in the distribution of active Jupiter-family comets and asteroids in cometary orbits.

  17. The “Main-Belt Comets” are not comets, nor active asteroids; they are temporary shaken asteroids (United States)

    Tancredi, Gonzalo


    Several objects in asteroidal orbits have presented comaes and tails similar to the ones presented by comets for short period of times. There are at present 16 objects in this group. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the activity of this object [Jewitt 2012]. Among them, the most accepted scenario for many objects is the ice sublimation and the ejection of dust, in a similar way as the cometary activity. Therefore several authors have coined these objects “Main Belt Comets” [Hsieh & Jewitt 2006]. Nevertheless, in some cases, some authors have concluded that the ejection of dust must be due to an impact.We propose an alternative model for the formation of the dusty comaes and tails.The impact of a small body against a larger one initially produces a crater and the ejection of dust at high velocity (>100 m/s). The dust is rapidly dispersed and it should be only observable just after the impact. In addition the impact generates a shock wave, which propagates to the body interior. The asteroid is globally shaken. Material is ejected at low velocities from the entire surface, similar to the low escape velocities at the surface. The particles move away from the asteroid due to the solar radiation pressure, forming the thin tails aligned with the orbital plane. These tails could persist for various months, as they have been seen in these objects.In addition, chunks of rock could be ejected in suborbital flights lasting for days; which, at return they would induce a new low-velocity ejection of particles. This process can explain some of the long-lasting events.The recurrence of the activity for some objects could be explained due to the collision with a dense meteor shower present in the main-belt.The so-called “Main Belt Comets” could be explained with a hypothesis that does not require the presence of ice on the surface of these objects. We also do not favor the term “Activated asteroids”, because it implies some kind of endogenous process

  18. Reflectance spectroscopy and asteroid surface mineralogy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gaffey, M.J.; Bell, J.F.; Cruikshank, D.P.


    Information available from reflectance spectroscopy on the surface mineralogy of asteroids is discussed. Current spectral interpretive procedures used in the investigations of asteroid mineralogy are described. Present understanding of the nature and history of asteroids is discussed together with some still unresolved issues such as the source of ordinary chondrites. 100 refs

  19. Direct Characterization of Comets and Asteroids via Cosmic Dust Analysis from the Deep Space Gateway (United States)

    Fries, M.; Fisher, K.


    The Deep Space Gateway (DSG) may provide a platform for direct sampling of a large number of comets and asteroids, through employment of an instrument for characterizing dust from these bodies. Every year, the Earth traverses through debris streams of dust and small particles from comets and asteroids in Earth-crossing orbits, generating short-lived outbursts of meteor activity commonly known as "meteor showers" (Figure 1). The material in each debris stream originates from a distinct parent body, many of which have been identified. By sampling this material, it is possible to quantitatively analyze the composition of a dozen or more comets and asteroids (See Figure 2, following page) without leaving cislunar space.

  20. Collisional Histories of Comets and Trojan Asteroids: Insights from Forsterite and Enstatite Impact Studies (United States)

    Lederer. S. M.; Jensen, E. A.; Wooden, D. H.; Lindsay, S. S.; Smith, D. C.; Cintala, M. J.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Keller, L. P.


    Impacts into forsterite and orthoenstatite at speeds typically encountered by comets demonstrate that shock imparted by collisions is detectable in the infrared signatures of their dust. The spectral signatures can be traced to physical alterations in their crystalline structures, as observed in TEM imaging and modeled using a dipole approximation. These results yield tantalizing insights into the collisional history of our solar system, as well as the history of individual comets and Trojan asteroids.

  1. Collisional Histories of Comets and Trojan Asteroids: Diopside, Magnesite, and Fayalite Impact Studies (United States)

    Lederer, Susan M.; Jensen, E. A.; Wooden, D. H.; Lindsay, S. S.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Smith, D. C.; Keller, L. P.; Cintala, M. J.; Zolensky, M. E.


    Comets and asteroids have weathered dynamic histories, as evidenced by their rough surfaces. The Nice model describes a violent reshuffling of small bodies during the Late Heavy Bombardment, with collisions acting to grind these planetesimals away. This creates an additional source of impact material that can re-work the surfaces of the larger bodies over the lifetime of the solar system. Here, we investigate the possibility that signatures due to impacts (e.g. from micrometeoroids or meteoroids) could be detected in their spectra, and how that can be explained by the physical manifestation of shock in the crystalline structure of minerals. All impact experiments were conducted in the Johnson Space Center Experimental Impact Laboratory using the vertical gun. Impact speeds ranged from 2.0 km/s to 2.8 km/s. All experiments were conducted at room temperature. Minerals found in comets and asteroids were chosen as targets, including diopside (MgCaSi2O6, monoclinic pyroxene), magnesite (MgCO3, carbonate), and fayalite (FeSiO4, olivine). Impacted samples were analyzed using a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) and a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Absorbance features in the 8-13 µm spectral region demonstrate relative amplitude changes as well as wavelength shifts. Corresponding TEM images exhibit planar shock dislocations in the crystalline structure, attributed to deformation at high strain and low temperatures. Elongating or shortening the axes of the crystalline structure of forsterite (Mg2SiO4, olivine) using a discrete dipole approximation model (Lindsay et al., submitted) yields changes in spectral features similar to those observed in our impacted laboratory minerals. Results on forsterite and orthoenstatite can be found in Jensen, et al., this meeting. Funding was provided by the NASA PG&G grant 09-PGG09-0115, NSF grant AST-1010012, and a Cottrell College Scholarship through the Research Corporation.

  2. Collisional Histories of Comets and Trojan Asteroids: Diopside, Magnesite, and Fayalite Impact Studies (United States)

    Lederer, S. M.; Jensen, E. A.; Wooden, D. H.; Lindsay, S. S.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Smith, D. C.; Keller, L. P.; Cintala, M. J.; Zolensky, M. E.


    Comets and asteroids have weathered dynamic histories, as evidenced by their rough surfaces. The Nice model describes a violent reshuffling of small bodies during the Late Heavy Bombardment, with collisions acting to grind these planetesimals away. This creates an additional source of impact material that can re-work the surfaces of the larger bodies over the lifetime of the solar system. Here, we investigate the possibility that signatures due to impacts (e.g. from micrometeoroids or meteoroids) could be detected in their spectra, and how that can be explained by the physical manifestation of shock in the crystalline structure of minerals. All impact experiments were conducted in the Johnson Space Center Experimental Impact Laboratory using the vertical gun. Impact speeds ranged from approx.2.0 km/s to approx.2.8 km/s. All experiments were conducted at room temperature. Minerals found in comets and asteroids were chosen as targets, including diopside (MgCaSi2O6, monoclinic pyroxene), magnesite (MgCO3, carbonate), and fayalite (FeSiO4, olivine). Impacted samples were analyzed using a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) and a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Absorbance features in the 8-13 m spectral region demonstrate relative amplitude changes as well as wavelength shifts. Corresponding TEM images exhibit planar shock dislocations in the crystalline structure, attributed to deformation at high strain and low temperatures. Elongating or shortening the axes of the crystalline structure of forsterite (Mg2SiO4, olivine) using a discrete dipole approximation model (Lindsay et al., submitted) yields changes in spectral features similar to those observed in our impacted laboratory minerals.

  3. Numerical and probabilistic analysis of asteroid and comet impact hazard mitigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Plesko, Catherine S [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Weaver, Robert P [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Huebner, Walter F [Los Alamos National Laboratory


    The possibility of asteroid and comet impacts on Earth has received significant recent media and scientific attention. Still, there are many outstanding questions about the correct response once a potentially hazardous object (PHO) is found. Nuclear munitions are often suggested as a deflection mechanism because they have a high internal energy per unit launch mass. However, major uncertainties remain about the use of nuclear munitions for hazard mitigation. There are large uncertainties in a PHO's physical response to a strong deflection or dispersion impulse like that delivered by nuclear munitions. Objects smaller than 100 m may be solid, and objects at all sizes may be 'rubble piles' with large porosities and little strength. Objects with these different properties would respond very differently, so the effects of object properties must be accounted for. Recent ground-based observations and missions to asteroids and comets have improved the planetary science community's understanding of these objects. Computational power and simulation capabilities have improved such that it is possible to numerically model the hazard mitigation problem from first principles. Before we know that explosive yield Y at height h or depth -h from the target surface will produce a momentum change in or dispersion of a PHO, we must quantify energy deposition into the system of particles that make up the PHO. Here we present the initial results of a parameter study in which we model the efficiency of energy deposition from a stand-off nuclear burst onto targets made of PHO constituent materials.

  4. Dust particles from comets and asteroids collected at the Earth's orbit: Parent-daughter relationships (United States)

    Jackson, A. A.; Zook, H. A.


    The relative contributions of comets and asteroids to the reservoir of dust in the interplanetary medium is not well known. There are direct observations of dust released from comets and there is evidence to associate the IRAS dust bands with possible collisions of Asteroids in the main belt. It is believed that one may combine lab analysis of the physics and chemistry of captured particles with orbital data in order to identify comet and asteroid parent bodies. It is possible to use the collected orbits of the dust to connect with its source in two ways. One is to consider the long time orbit evolution of the dust under Poynting-Robertson drag. The other is to look at the prompt orbit change of dust from comets onto trajectories that intersect the earth's orbit. In order to characterize the orbits of dust particles evolved over a long period of time, a study of its orbital evolution was undertaken. Various parameters associated with these dust orbits as they cross the Earth's orbit were considered in order to see if one may discriminate between particles evolved from comets and asteroids. The method was to calculate by a numerical procedure the orbits of dust particles after they left their parent bodies. It appears that as the particles pass the Earth's orbit, asteroidal grains and cometary grains can be differentiated on the basis of their measured orbital eccentricities even after much planetary perturbation. Broad parent daughter associations can be made on this basis from measurement of their trajectories intercepted in earth orbit.

  5. Potential Jupiter-Family comet contamination of the main asteroid belt (United States)

    Hsieh, Henry H.; Haghighipour, Nader


    We present the results of "snapshot" numerical integrations of test particles representing comet-like and asteroid-like objects in the inner Solar System aimed at investigating the short-term dynamical evolution of objects close to the dynamical boundary between asteroids and comets as defined by the Tisserand parameter with respect to Jupiter, TJ (i.e., TJ = 3). As expected, we find that TJ for individual test particles is not always a reliable indicator of initial orbit types. Furthermore, we find that a few percent of test particles with comet-like starting elements (i.e., similar to those of Jupiter-family comets) reach main-belt-like orbits (at least temporarily) during our 2 Myr integrations, even without the inclusion of non-gravitational forces, apparently via a combination of gravitational interactions with the terrestrial planets and temporary trapping by mean-motion resonances with Jupiter. We estimate that the fraction of real Jupiter-family comets occasionally reaching main-belt-like orbits on Myr timescales could be on the order of ∼ 0.1-1%, although the fraction that remain on such orbits for appreciable lengths of time is certainly far lower. For this reason, the number of JFC-like interlopers in the main-belt population at any given time is likely to be small, but still non-zero, a finding with significant implications for efforts to use apparently icy yet dynamically asteroidal main-belt comets as tracers of the primordial distribution of volatile material in the inner Solar System. The test particles with comet-like starting orbital elements that transition onto main-belt-like orbits in our integrations appear to be largely prevented from reaching low eccentricity, low inclination orbits, suggesting that the real-world population of main-belt objects with both low eccentricities and inclinations may be largely free of this potential occasional Jupiter-family comet contamination. We therefore find that low-eccentricity, low-inclination main

  6. Challenges of deflecting an asteroid or comet nucleus with a nuclear burst

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bradley, Paul A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Plesko, Cathy S [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Clement, Ryan R. C. [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Conlon, Le Ann M [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Weaver, Robert P [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Guzik, Joyce A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Pritchett - Sheets, Lori A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Huebner, Walter F [SWRI


    There are many natural disasters that humanity has to deal with over time. These include earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, asteroid strikes, and so on. Some of these disasters occur slowly enough that some advance warning is possible for affected areas. In this case, the response is to evacuate the affected area and deal wilh the damage later. The Katrina and Rita hurricane evacuations on the U.S. Gulf Coasl in 2005 demonstrated the chaos that can result from such a response. In contrast with other natural disasters, it is likely that an asteroid or comet nucleus on a collision course with Earth will be detected with enough warning time to possibly deflect it away. Thanks to Near-Earth Object (NED) surveys, people are working towards a goal of cataloging at least 90% of all near-Earth objects with diameters larger than {approx} 140 meters in the next fifteen years. The important question then, is how to mitigate the threat from an asteroid or comet nucleus found to be on a collision course with Earth. In this paper. we briefly review some possible deflection methods, describe their good and bad points, and then embark on a more detailed description of using nuclear munitions in a standoff mode to deflect the asteroid or comet nucleus before it can hit Earth.

  7. Close Encounters of Asteroids and Comets to Planets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hills, J.G.; Goda, M.P.; Solem, J.C.


    This is the final report of a three-year, Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The authors find by numerical simulations that the elongated-potato shape that is characteristic of Earth-crossing asteroids (ECAs) is likely the result of previous close tidal encounters with Earth. Some meteoroids graze the atmosphere of Earth before returning to space (at reduced speed). They used a spherical atmospheric model to study such grazers to find the condition under which they are captured into gravitationally bound orbits around Earth. They find that for about every thousand iron asteroids that hit the Earth, one is captured into a gravitational-bound orbit. Some fraction of these captured objects will have their orbits stabilized for many revolutions by tidal encounters with the Moon and the sun. They have also studied how the damage produced by such grazing and near-grazing asteroids differs from that produced by asteroids that hit Earth more directly.

  8. Evidence of Collisional Histories of Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites: Comparisons with Shocked Minerals (United States)

    Lederer, Susan M.; Jensen, Elizabeth; Smith, Douglas; Fane, Michael; Whizin, Akbar; Landsman, Zoe A.; Wooden, Diane H.; Lindsay, Sean S.; Cintala, Mark; Keller, Lindsay P.; hide


    Evidence of the collisional history of comets and asteroids has been emerging from analyses of cometary forsterite and enstatite returned from Comet Wild 2 by the Stardust mission (Keller et al.Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 72, 2008; Tomeoka et al. MAPS 43, 2008; Jacobs et al. MAPS 44, 2009). Likewise, shock metamorphism is observed in many meteoritic forsterites and enstatites (McCausland et al. AGU, 2010), suggesting similar collisional histories for asteroids. Further exploration of the effects of collisions is slated for the upcoming Asteroid Impact Mission/Double Asteroid Redirection Test (AIM/DART) mission, expected for launch in 2020. DART will impact Didymoon, the companion of the larger 65803 Didymos (1996 G2) asteroid, and AIM will use its instrumentation to characterize the impact. A suite of relevant impact experiments have been carried out in the Experimental Impact Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center at velocities ranging from approx. 2.0 - 2.8 km/s and temperatures from 25 C to -100 C. Targets include a suite of minerals typically found in cometary dust and in asteroids and meteorites: Mg-rich forsterite (olivine), enstatite (orthopyroxene), diopside (clinopyroxene), magnesite (Mg-rich carbonate), and serpentine (phyllosilicate). Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) imaging indicates evidence of shock similar to that seen in forsterite and enstatite from Comet Wild 2. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy will also be used for comparisons with meteorite spectra. A quantitative analysis of the shock pressures required to induce planar dislocations and spectral effects with respect to wavelength will also be presented.

  9. Infrared spectral reflectances of asteroid surfaces (United States)

    Larson, H. P.; Veeder, G. J.


    This review compares the types of compositional information produced by three complementary techniques used in infrared observations of asteroid surfaces: broadband JHKL photometry, narrow band photometry, and multiplex spectroscopy. The high information content of these infrared observations permits definitive interpretations of asteroid surface compositions in terms of the major meteoritic minerals (olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase feldspar, hydrous silicates, and metallic Ni-Fe). These studies emphasize the individuality of asteroid surface compositions, the inadequacy of simple comparisons with spectra of meteorites, and the need to coordinate spectral measurements of all types to optimize diagnostic capabilities.

  10. Protecting Earth from comet/asteroid impacts through international cooperation: Issues & current status

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tedeschi, W.


    Compelling evidence of a catastrophic asteroid impact on Earth 65 million years ago has given rise to international discussions about the probability, consequences, and prevention of future impacts. Because asteroid and comet impacts pose a grave danger to all humanity, preventive defensive measures should appropriately be based on international cooperation and action. Action may consist of detection research, experimentation to prevent the impact, public education on the issues, emergency planning, and actual protection if required. This paper provides background information on the threat posed by Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and discusses associated technical and geopolitical issues and the current status of some related international activities.

  11. Looking before we leap: an ongoing, quantative investigation of asteroid and comet impact hazard mitigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Plesko, Catherine S [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Weaver, Robert P [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Bradley, Paul A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Huebner, Walter F [Los Alamos National Laboratory


    There are many outstanding questions about the correct response to an asteroid or comet impact threat on Earth. Nuclear munitions are currently thought to be the most efficient method of delivering an impact-preventing impulse to a potentially hazardous object (PHO). However, there are major uncertainties about the response of PHOs to a nuclear burst, and the most appropriate ways to use nuclear munitions for hazard mitigation.

  12. Low-Energy Asteroid and Comet Transit Analysis using Isolating Blocks (United States)

    Anderson, Rodney L.; Chodas, Paul; Easton, Robert W.; Lo, Martin W.


    It is well known that asteroids and comets typically capture or transit near a planet by traveling through the L1 and L2 libration point gateways. These regions are therefore key to understanding the mechanism by which these captures, transits, and potential impacts occur. Recently, Anderson, Easton, and Lo (2015) explored the L2 region in the Earth-Moon system using isolating blocks in the circular restricted three-body problem (CRTBP). Isolating blocks provide a theoretically rigorous method for computing the invariant manifolds of libration point periodic orbits and all possible transit trajectories at a particular Jacobi constant in the CRTBP. Using isolating block methods allows us to directly compute and study the transit trajectories used by comets and asteroids in the low-energy regimes common for these types of bodies. In this study, both L1 and L2 isolating blocks are computed for the Sun-Earth and Sun-Jupiter CRTBP systems to compute trajectories transiting near the Earth and Jupiter. Statistics based on transit time, periapse passages, and exit location are first computed. Then individual trajectory solutions corresponding to different trajectory types are analyzed. The transit trajectories are also characterized using their orbital elements and compared to known comets and asteroids. These results show that the invariant manifolds of the orbits in the isolating block control and guide the dynamics of comets and asteroids as they temporarily capture between the L1 and L2 region of a planet or satellite.Reference: Anderson, R. L., R. W. Easton, M. W. Lo (2015), AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Conf., AAS 15-615.

  13. Hartley and Itokawa: small comet and asteroid with similar morphologies and structures (United States)

    Kochemasov, G. G.


    " Orbits ma ke s tructures " [1-3]. This three-word sentence means that as all cosmic bodies moves in non-circular keplerian orbits they all are subjected to an action of inertia -gravity warping waves. These waves arise in bodies as a result of periodically changing accelerations causing inertia-gravity forces. These forces are absorbed by bodies masses and make them to warp. This warping is smoothed by gravity making globular shapes of the larger bodies. But smaller bodies with rather weak gravity keep their warped shapes. The wave nature warping happens in four interfering direct ions (ortho - and diagonal) and in various wavelengths. The fundamental wave 1 long 2π R makes ubiquitous tectonic dichotomy: an oppos ition of the uplifted segment-hemisphere and the subsided one. For small bodies a result of this is in their convexo-concave shape [3] (Fig. 1-7). The uplifted bulging segment expands and is breaking by cracks, faults, rifts. The opposed subsided concave segment contracts. As a result in the middle of an oblong body is formed a narrow thoroughly squeezed and degassed portion - a neck or waist (wringed out wet linen). Subsequently here at a weakened place could happen a break - formation of binaries, polycomponental bodies, satellites. Figures 1 to 4 show development stages of small bodies leading to a full separation of two parts. Traces of warping waves of four directions are often seen on surfaces of many celestial bodies as cross -cutting lineations. A recent example of the small core of the Hartley 2 comet (2 km long) is very impressive. At received points of view are clearly seen at least three ortho- and diagonal lineations often marked by small outgassing craters (Fig. 1). Crossing lineations produce square forms (craters ) earlier s een on the Eros ' s urface. Wave comp res s ion lineations make the Hart ley 2 t o appear as a wafer ca ke. A " wa is t" (neck) is formed as a res ult of nearing a concave depression, from one side, and deep cracks

  14. Collisional Effects on Magnesium-rich Minerals found in Comets and Asteroids (United States)

    Lederer, S.; Jensen, E.; Strojia, C.; Smith, D.; Keller, L.; Berger, E.; Lindsay, S.; Wooden, D.; Cintala, M.; Zolensky, M.


    While generally touted to be the least-altered bodies remaining from the age of the solar system's formation, comets and asteroids have undergone evolutionary processing throughout the 4.5-billion-year lifetime of the solar system. They have suffered the effects of collisions by impactors ranging in size from micrometeoroids to other comets and asteroids. As such, we must ask ourselves: can we detect these evolutionary effects remotely through telescopic observations? With this in mind, a suite of experiments were conducted, impacting magnesium-rich minerals as analogues to those that have been detected in the spectra of both asteroid surfaces and in the dust of cometary comae, including forsterite (Mg2SiO4, olivine), orthoenstatite (Mg2SiO3, pyroxene), diopside (MgCaSi2O6, monoclinic pyroxene), and magnesite (MgCO3, carbonate). These minerals were impacted at velocities ranging from 2.0 km/s to 2.8 km/s using the vertical gun in the Experimental Impact Laboratory (EIL) at NASA Johnson Space Center. These speeds mimic typical velocities of impacts occurring in the Kuiper belt [1]. Two classes of projectile were used: spherical alumina ceramic, whose density mimics that of rock, and cylinders made from the same material that they impacted (e.g., forsterite impactors for forsterite targets, etc.). The peak shock pressure varies significantly, depending on the target and impactor materials and the velocity; thus, shock effects differed in targets impacted at the same velocity but with compositionally different projectiles. The results indicate both: (a) how varying the impactor-density might change the outcome from a scientific viewpoint, as well as (b) possible contamination effects of the ceramic projectile in the resultant spectra of the target minerals from an experimental perspective. Temperature effects were also investigated by impacting samples at both 25 deg. and -25 deg. to: (a) probe whether the varying temperatures experienced by small bodies plays a role


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Geng, J. J.; Huang, Y. F., E-mail: [School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046 (China)


    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are newly discovered radio transient sources. Their high dispersion measures indicate an extragalactic origin. However, due to the lack of observational data in other wavelengths, their progenitors still remain unclear. Here we suggest that the collisions between neutron stars (NSs) and asteroids/comets are promising mechanisms for FRBs. During the impact process, a hot plasma fireball forms after the material of the small body penetrates into the NS surface. The ionized matter inside the fireball then expands along the magnetic field lines. Coherent radiation from the thin shell at the top of the fireball will account for the observed FRBs. Our scenario can reasonably explain the main features of FRBs, such as their durations, luminosities, and the event rate. We argue that for a single NS, FRBs are not likely to happen repeatedly in a forseeable timespan since such impacts are of low probability. We predict that faint remnant X-ray emissions should be associated with FRBs, but it may be too faint to be detected by detectors at work.

  16. Cartography of asteroids and comet nuclei from low resolution data (United States)

    Stooke, Philip J.


    High resolution images of non-spherical objects, such as Viking images of Phobos and the anticipated Galileo images of Gaspra, lend themselves to conventional planetary cartographic procedures: control network analysis, stereophotogrammetry, image mosaicking in 2D or 3D, and airbrush mapping. There remains the problem of a suitable map projection for bodies which are extremely elongated or irregular in shape. Many bodies will soon be seen at lower resolution (5-30 pixels across the disk) in images from speckle interferometry, the Hubble Space Telescope, ground-based radar, distinct spacecraft encounters, and closer images degraded by smear. Different data with similar effective resolutions are available from stellar occultations, radar or lightcurve convex hulls, lightcurve modeling of albedo variations, and cometary jet modeling. With such low resolution, conventional methods of shape determination will be less useful or will fail altogether, leaving limb and terminator topography as the principal sources of topographic information. A method for shape determination based on limb and terminator topography was developed. It has been applied to the nucleus of Comet Halley and the jovian satellite Amalthea. The Amalthea results are described to give an example of the cartographic possibilities and problems of anticipated data sets.

  17. Physical Observations of 1996 PW and 1997 SE5: Extinct Comets or D-Type Asteroids? (United States)

    Hicks, M. D.; Buratti, B. J.; Newburn, R. L.; Rabinowitz, D. L.


    The minor planets 1996 PW and 1997 SE5 are two of the few known asteroids with orbital elements typical of long-period and Jupiter-family comets and as such represent strong candidates for extinct cometary nuclei. We obtained filter photometry of 1996 PW and filter photometry and medium-resolution CCD spectroscopy of 1997 SE5 during their discovery apparitions. We also observed a suite of D-type asteroids as possible spectral analogs of cometary nuclei. Both 1996 PW and 1997 SE5 have moderately red, featureless spectra typical of the D-type asteroids, cometary nuclei, and other extinct cometary candidates. The photometry for 1997 SE5 was fit by a triple-peaked lightcurve with a period of 9.050±0.005 h and an amplitude of 0.4 magnitude, suggesting a relatively complex and elongated shape. With this work, 1997 SE5 and 1996 PW join the ranks of 3552 Don Quixote and 944 Hildago as established candidates for extinct comet nuclei.

  18. Touchless Despinning of Asteroids and Comets via Neutral Beam Emitting Spacecraft (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This project seeks to design, build, and test a device that is capable of despinning an asteroid without the need for affixing the spacecraft to the surface. This...

  19. DASTCOM5: A Portable and Current Database of Asteroid and Comet Orbit Solutions (United States)

    Giorgini, Jon D.; Chamberlin, Alan B.


    A portable direct-access database containing all NASA/JPL asteroid and comet orbit solutions, with the software to access it, is available for download (; unzip -ao DASTCOM5 contains the latest heliocentric IAU76/J2000 ecliptic osculating orbital elements for all known asteroids and comets as determined by a least-squares best-fit to ground-based optical, spacecraft, and radar astrometric measurements. Other physical, dynamical, and covariance parameters are included when known. A total of 142 parameters per object are supported within DASTCOM5. This information is suitable for initializing high-precision numerical integrations, assessing orbit geometry, computing trajectory uncertainties, visual magnitude, and summarizing physical characteristics of the body. The DASTCOM5 distribution is updated as often as hourly to include newly discovered objects or orbit solution updates. It includes an ASCII index of objects that supports look-ups based on name, current or past designation, SPK ID, MPC packed-designations, or record number. DASTCOM5 is the database used by the NASA/JPL Horizons ephemeris system. It is a subset exported from a larger MySQL-based relational Small-Body Database ("SBDB") maintained at JPL. The DASTCOM5 distribution is intended for programmers comfortable with UNIX/LINUX/MacOSX command-line usage who need to develop stand-alone applications. The goal of the implementation is to provide small, fast, portable, and flexibly programmatic access to JPL comet and asteroid orbit solutions. The supplied software library, examples, and application programs have been verified under gfortran, Lahey, Intel, and Sun 32/64-bit Linux/UNIX FORTRAN compilers. A command-line tool ("dxlook") is provided to enable database access from shell or script environments.

  20. Effective Scenarios for Exploring Asteroid Surfaces (United States)

    Clark, Pamela E.; Clark, C.; Weisbin, C.


    In response to the proposal that asteroids be the next targets for exploration, we attempt to develop scenarios for exploring previously mapped asteroid 433 Eros, harnessing our recent experience gained planning such activity for return to the lunar surface. The challenges faced in planning Apollo led to the development of a baseline methodology for extraterrestrial field science. What `lessons learned’ can be applied for asteroids? Effective reconnaissance (advanced mapping at tetherable’ and would most likely `station keep’ to maintain a position. The most convenient local mobility mechanism for astronauts/robots would be `hand over hand’ above the surface at a field station supplemented by a `tetherless’ (small rocket-pack) control system for changing station or return to vehicle. Thus, we assume similar mobility constraints (meters to hundreds of meters at a local station, kilometers between stations) as those used for Apollo. We also assume the vehicle could `station keep’ at more than one location separated by tens of kilometers distance.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harris, Alan W.; Drube, Line, E-mail: [German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstrasse 2, D-12489 Berlin (Germany)


    Knowledge of the surface thermal inertia of an asteroid can provide insight into its surface structure: porous material has a lower thermal inertia than rock. We develop a means to estimate thermal inertia values of asteroids and use it to show that thermal inertia appears to increase with spin period in the case of main-belt asteroids (MBAs). Similar behavior is found on the basis of thermophysical modeling for near-Earth objects (NEOs). We interpret our results in terms of rapidly increasing material density and thermal conductivity with depth, and provide evidence that thermal inertia increases by factors of 10 (MBAs) to 20 (NEOs) within a depth of just 10 cm. Our results are consistent with a very general picture of rapidly changing material properties in the topmost regolith layers of asteroids and have important implications for calculations of the Yarkovsky effect, including its perturbation of the orbits of potentially hazardous objects and those of asteroid family members after the break-up event. Evidence of a rapid increase of thermal inertia with depth is also an important result for studies of the ejecta-enhanced momentum transfer of impacting vehicles (“kinetic impactors”) in planetary defense.

  2. Orbit Refinement of Asteroids and Comets Using a Robotic Telescope Network (United States)

    Lantz Caughey, Austin; Brown, Johnny; Puckett, Andrew W.; Hoette, Vivian L.; Johnson, Michael; McCarty, Cameron B.; Whitmore, Kevin; UNC-Chapel Hill SKYNET Team


    We report on a multi-semester project to refine the orbits of asteroids and comets in our Solar System. One of the newest fields of research for undergraduate Astrophysics students at Columbus State University is that of asteroid astrometry. By measuring the positions of an asteroid in a set of images, we can reduce the overall uncertainty in the accepted orbital parameters of that object. These measurements, using our WestRock Observatory (WRO) and several other telescopes around the world, are being published through the Minor Planet Center (MPC) and benefit the global community.Three different methods are used to obtain these observations. First, we use our own 24-inch telescope at WRO, located in at CSU's Coca-Cola Space Science Center in downtown Columbus, Georgia . Second, we have access to data from the 20-inch telescope at Stone Edge Observatory in El Verano, California. Finally, we may request images remotely using Skynet, an online worldwide network of robotic telescopes. Our primary and long-time collaborator on Skynet has been the "41-inch" reflecting telescope at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Thus far, we have used these various telescopes to refine the orbits of more than 15 asteroids and comets. We have also confirmed the resulting reduction in orbit-model uncertainties using Monte Carlo simulations and orbit visualizations, using Find_Orb and OrbitMaster software, respectively.Before any observatory site can be used for official orbit refinement projects, it must first become a trusted source of astrometry data for the MPC. We have therefore obtained Observatory Codes not only for our own WestRock Observatory (W22), but also for 3 Skynet telescopes that we may use in the future: Dark Sky Observatory in Boone, North Carolina (W38) Hume Observatory in Santa Rosa, California (U54) and Athabasca University Geophysical Observatory in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada (U96).

  3. Delivery of organics to Mars through asteroid and comet impacts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Frantseva, Kateryna; Mueller, Michael; ten Kate, Inge L.; van der Tak, Floris


    Despite intensive search, the presence of organic molecules on Mars could only recently be demonstrated, through Curiosity measurements. On the surface of Mars, organics are highly unstable to photodissociation, but may last longer in the subsurface. It is therefore believed that organics observable

  4. Orbital motion in strongly perturbed environments applications to asteroid, comet and planetary satellite orbiters

    CERN Document Server

    Scheeres, Daniel J


    The proposed book will provide a detailed, technical introduction to the analysis of orbital motion in strongly perturbed environments, focusing on motion about small Solar System bodies, such as comets and asteroids. The author shows why such small bodies are of interest and why they can be used as a motivation for the general analysis of orbital mechanics. He shows how it is possible to model the small body environment, including specialised cases such as those of binary asteroids, comets and ‘rubble piles’, and how the fundamental equations of motion are derived. The properties of the various solutions to the equations of motion are described and the methods of analysis and their application are discussed. Both ballistic motion and powered motion on and about small bodies are considered and case studies for different small body missions are presented. The author concludes his comprehensive treatment with a discussion of the mechanics of multi-body small body systems and a review of advanced topics and ...

  5. Protection of the human race against natural hazards (asteroids, comets, volcanoes, earthquakes) (United States)

    Smith, Joseph V.


    Although we justifiably worry about the danger of nuclear war to civilization, and perhaps even to survival of the human race, we tend to consider natural hazards (e.g., comets, asteroids, volcanoes, earthquakes) as unavoidable acts of God. In any human lifetime, a truly catastrophic natural event is very unlikely, but ultimately one will occur. For the first time in human history we have sufficient technical skills to begin protection of Earth from some natural hazards. We could decide collectively throughout the world to reassign resources: in particular, reduction of nuclear and conventional weapons to a less dangerous level would allow concomitant increase of international programs for detection and prevention of natural hazards. Worldwide cooperation to mitigate natural hazards might help psychologically to lead us away from the divisive bickering that triggers wars. Future generations could hail us as pioneers of peace and safety rather than curse us as agents of death and destruction.

  6. Impact hazard mitigation: understanding the effects of nuclear explosive outputs on comets and asteroids

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Clement, Ralph R C [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Plesko, Catherine S [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Bradley, Paul A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Conlon, Leann M [Los Alamos National Laboratory


    The NASA 2007 white paper ''Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives'' affirms deflection as the safest and most effective means of potentially hazardous object (PHO) impact prevention. It also calls for further studies of object deflection. In principle, deflection of a PHO may be accomplished by using kinetic impactors, chemical explosives, gravity tractors, solar sails, or nuclear munitions. Of the sudden impulse options, nuclear munitions are by far the most efficient in terms of yield-per-unit-mass launched and are technically mature. However, there are still significant questions about the response of a comet or asteroid to a nuclear burst. Recent and ongoing observational and experimental work is revolutionizing our understanding of the physical and chemical properties of these bodies (e.g ., Ryan (2000) Fujiwara et al. (2006), and Jedicke et al. (2006)). The combination of this improved understanding of small solar-system bodies combined with current state-of-the-art modeling and simulation capabilities, which have also improved dramatically in recent years, allow for a science-based, comprehensive study of PHO mitigation techniques. Here we present an examination of the effects of radiation from a nuclear explosion on potentially hazardous asteroids and comets through Monte Carlo N-Particle code (MCNP) simulation techniques. MCNP is a general-purpose particle transport code commonly used to model neutron, photon, and electron transport for medical physics reactor design and safety, accelerator target and detector design, and a variety of other applications including modeling the propagation of epithermal neutrons through the Martian regolith (Prettyman 2002). It is a massively parallel code that can conduct simulations in 1-3 dimensions, complicated geometries, and with extremely powerful variance reduction techniques. It uses current nuclear cross section data, where available, and fills in the gaps with

  7. Asteroid Spectral Imaging Mission (ASPECT) CubeSat to characterize resources on asteroid surfaces (United States)

    Kohout, T.; Näsilä, A.; Tikka, T.; Granvik, M.; Kestilä, A.; Penttilä, A.; Kuhno, J.; Muinonen, K.; Viherkanto, K.


    ASPECT is a 3U CubeSat with a VIS-NIR spectral imager. It can characterize composition of asteroid surfaces and identify areas and objects with desired properties for sample return or in-space resource utilization.

  8. Planning ahead for asteroid and comet hazard mitigation, phase 1: parameter space exploration and scenario modeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Plesko, Catherine S [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Clement, R Ryan [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Weaver, Robert P [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Bradley, Paul A [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Huebner, Walter F [Los Alamos National Laboratory


    The mitigation of impact hazards resulting from Earth-approaching asteroids and comets has received much attention in the popular press. However, many questions remain about the near-term and long-term, feasibility and appropriate application of all proposed methods. Recent and ongoing ground- and space-based observations of small solar-system body composition and dynamics have revolutionized our understanding of these bodies (e.g., Ryan (2000), Fujiwara et al. (2006), and Jedicke et al. (2006)). Ongoing increases in computing power and algorithm sophistication make it possible to calculate the response of these inhomogeneous objects to proposed mitigation techniques. Here we present the first phase of a comprehensive hazard mitigation planning effort undertaken by Southwest Research Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory. We begin by reviewing the parameter space of the object's physical and chemical composition and trajectory. We then use the radiation hydrocode RAGE (Gittings et al. 2008), Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) radiation transport (see Clement et al., this conference), and N-body dynamics codes to explore the effects these variations in object properties have on the coupling of energy into the object from a variety of mitigation techniques, including deflection and disruption by nuclear and conventional munitions, and a kinetic impactor.

  9. Comets Captured in the Main Asteroid Belt: Evidence for a Lost Neptune-Like Planet (United States)

    Bottke, W. F., Jr.


    The Nice model describes a family of solutions where the giant planets started in a different configuration, experienced a dynamical instability, and reached their final configuration via interactions with a sea of leftover comet-like planetesimals. The most successful version of this model assumes there were five planets between 5-20 AU: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and a Neptune-like body. The extra Neptune-like body was ejected via a Jupiter encounter but not before it helped populate stable niches with disk planetesimals across the Solar System (e.g., Trojans, irregular satellites). Here we use numerical simulations to show that the Neptune-like body directly interacted with the main belt for several tens of thousands of years, enough to help capture numerous disk planetesimals into the asteroid belt and the first-order mean motion resonances with Jupiter. We find our model runs produce the right proportion of large P- and D-type asteroids in the inner, central, and outer main belt, while also populating the Hilda and Thule populations in Jupiter's 3/2 and 4/3 resonances. For example, in the central main belt between 2.5-2.8 AU, we predict the largest P/D types should be 180 ± 25 km, compared to the D 177 km diameter P-type (409) Aspasia, while there should be 20 (+20, -10) D > 150 km bodies, compared to 17 known such bodies. Our model does produce a factor of a few overabundance of D > 10 km P/D-types in the main belt, though this mismatch is likely explained by removal mechanisms not yet explored (e.g., thermal destruction of D > 10 km disk planetesimals en route to the inner solar system, collision evolution in the main belt over 4 Gyr, dynamical losses in the main belt via Yarkovsky thermal forces over 4 Gyr). Overall, our five-planet instability model not only reproduces the major trends identified by Levison et al. (2009), but it also provides a more satisfying match to constraints. Accordingly, it provides us with strong supporting evidence that

  10. Comets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hughes, D.W.


    Comets are objects of considerable fascination and this paper reviews the present knowledge of the physical structure of the cometary nucleus, coma and tail, the orbits of comets in the Solar System, the proposed mechanisms of cometary origin, the decay processes suffered by comets, and the ways in which they can be observed from Earth and by spacecraft. (author)

  11. Small Bodies, Big Concepts: Engaging Teachers and Their Students in Visual Analysis of Comets and Asteroids (United States)

    Cobb, W. H.; Buxner, S.; Lebofsky, L. A.; Ristvey, J.; Weeks, S.; Zolensky, M.


    Small Bodies, Big Concepts is a multi-disciplinary, professional development project that engages 5th - 8th grade teachers in high end planetary science using a research-based pedagogical framework, Designing Effective Science Instruction (DESI). In addition to developing sound background knowledge with a focus on visual analysis, teachers' awareness of the process of learning new content is heightened, and they use that experience to deepen their science teaching practice. Culling from NASA E/PO educational materials, activities are sequenced to enhance conceptual understanding of big ideas in space science: what do we know, how do we know it, why do we care? Helping teachers develop a picture of the history and evolution of our understanding of the solar system, and honing in on the place of comets and asteroids in helping us answer old questions and discover new ones, teachers see the power and excitement underlying planetary science as human endeavor. Research indicates that science inquiry is powerful in the classroom and mission scientists are real-life models of science inquiry in action. Using guest scientist facilitators from the Planetary Science Institute, NASA Johnson Space Center, Lockheed Martin, and NASA E/PO professionals from McREL and NASA AESP, teachers practice framing scientific questions, using current visual data, and adapting NASA E/PO activities related to current exploration of asteroids and comets in our Solar System. Cross-curricular elements included examining research-based strategies for enhancing English language learners' ability to engage in higher order questions and a professional astronomy artist's insight into how visual analysis requires not just our eyes engaged, but our brains: comparing, synthesizing, questioning, evaluating, and wondering. This summer we pilot tested the SBBC curriculum with thirteen 5th- 10th grade teachers modeling a variety of instructional approaches over eight days. Each teacher developed lesson plans

  12. A Comet Surface Sample Return System Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The proposed Phase I investigation will focus on the development of spacecraft systems required to obtain a sample from the nucleus of a comet, hermetically seal the...

  13. Meteoroid Impact Ejecta Detection by Nanosatellites for Asteroid Surface Characterization (United States)

    Lee, N.; Close, S.; Goel, A.


    Asteroids are constantly bombarded by much smaller meteoroids at extremely high speeds, which results in erosion of the material on the asteroid surface. Some of this material is vaporized and ionized, forming a plasma that is ejected into the environment around the asteroid where it can be detected by a constellation of closely orbiting nanosatellites. We present a concept to leverage this natural phenomenon and to analyze this excavated material using low-power plasma sensors on nanosatellites in order to determine the composition of the asteroid surface. This concept would enable a constellation of nanosatellites to provide useful data complementing existing techniques such as spectroscopy, which require larger and more power-hungry sensors. Possible mission architectures include precursor exploratory missions using nanosatellites to survey and identify asteroid candidates worthy of further study by a large spacecraft, or simultaneous exploration by a nanosatellite constellation with a larger parent spacecraft to decrease the time required to cover the entire asteroid surface. The use of meteoroid impact plasma to analyze the surface composition of asteroids will not only produce measurements that have not been previously obtained, including the molecular composition of the surface, but will also yield a better measurement of the meteoroid flux in the vicinity of the asteroid. Current meteoroid models are poorly constrained beyond the orbit of Mars, due to scarcity of data. If this technology is used to survey asteroids in the main belt, it will offer a dramatic increase in the availability of meteoroid flux measurements in deep space, identifying previously unknown meteoroid streams and providing additional data to support models of solar system dust dynamics.

  14. A mathematical model of the passage of an asteroid-comet body through the Earth’s atmosphere

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shaydurov, V., E-mail: [Institute of Computational Modeling of SB RAS, 660036 Akademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk (Russian Federation); Siberian Federal University, 79 Svobodny pr., 660041 Krasnoyarsk (Russian Federation); Shchepanovskaya, G.; Yakubovich, M. [Institute of Computational Modeling of SB RAS, 660036 Akademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk (Russian Federation)


    In the paper, a mathematical model and a numerical algorithm are proposed for modeling the complex of phenomena which accompany the passage of a friable asteroid-comet body through the Earth’s atmosphere: the material ablation, the dissociation of molecules, and the radiation. The proposed model is constructed on the basis of the Navier-Stokes equations for viscous heat-conducting gas with an additional equation for the motion and propagation of a friable lumpy-dust material in air. The energy equation is modified for the relation between two its kinds: the usual energy of the translation of molecules (which defines the temperature and pressure) and the combined energy of their rotation, oscillation, electronic excitation, dissociation, and radiation. For the mathematical model of atmosphere, the distribution of density, pressure, and temperature in height is taken as for the standard atmosphere. An asteroid-comet body is taken initially as a round body consisting of a friable lumpy-dust material with corresponding density and significant viscosity which far exceed those for the atmosphere gas. A numerical algorithm is proposed for solving the initial-boundary problem for the extended system of Navier-Stokes equations. The algorithm is the combination of the semi-Lagrangian approximation for Lagrange transport derivatives and the conforming finite element method for other terms. The implementation of these approaches is illustrated by a numerical example.

  15. Deposition of steeply infalling debris - pebbles, boulders, snowballs, asteroids, comets - around stars (United States)

    Brown, J. C.; Veras, D.; Gänsicke, B. T.


    When Comet Lovejoy plunged into the Sun, and survived, questions arose about the physics of infall of small bodies. [1,2] has already described this infall in detail. However, a more general analysis for any type of star has been missing. [3] generalized previous studies, with specific applications to white dwarfs. High-metallicity pollution is common in white dwarf stars hosting remnant planetary systems. However, they rarely have detectable debris accretion discs, possibly because much of the influx is fast steeply infalling debris in star-grazing orbits, producing a more tenuous signature than a slowly accreting disc. Processes governing such deposition between the Roche radius and photosphere have so far received little attention and we model them here analytically by extending recent work on sun-grazing comets to white dwarf systems. We find that the evolution of cm-to-km size infallers most strongly depends on two combinations of parameters, which effectively measure sublimation rate and binding strength. We then provide an algorithm to determine the fate of infallers for any white dwarf, and apply the algorithm to four limiting combinations of hot versus cool (young/old) white dwarfs with snowy (weak, volatile) versus rocky (strong, refractory) infallers. We find: (i) Total sublimation above the photosphere befalls all small infallers across the entire white dwarf temperature range, the threshold size rising with it and 100× larger for rock than snow. (ii) All very large objects fragment tidally regardless of temperature: for rock, a0 ≽ 105 cm; for snow, a0 ≽ 103 - 3 × 104 cm across all white dwarf cooling ages. (iii) A considerable range of infaller sizes avoids fragmentation and total sublimation, yielding impacts or grazes with cold white dwarfs. This range rapidly narrows with increasing temperature, especially for snowy bodies. Finally, we briefly discuss how the various forms of deposited debris may finally reach the photosphere surface itself.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugent, C. R. [Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Mainzer, A.; Masiero, J.; Bauer, J.; Kramer, E.; Sonnett, S. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Wright, E. L. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States); Grav, T. [Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ (United States)


    The rapid accumulation of thermal infrared observations and shape models of asteroids has led to increased interest in thermophysical modeling. Most of these infrared observations are unresolved. We consider what fraction of an asteroid’s surface area contributes the bulk of the emitted thermal flux for two model asteroids of different shapes over a range of thermal parameters. The resulting observed surface in the infrared is generally more fragmented than the area observed in visible wavelengths, indicating high sensitivity to shape. For objects with low values of the thermal parameter, small fractions of the surface contribute the majority of thermally emitted flux. Calculating observed areas could enable the production of spatially resolved thermal inertia maps from non-resolved observations of asteroids.

  17. The Cool Surfaces of Binaries Near-Earth Asteroids

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Delbo, Marco; Walsh, K.; Mueller, M.


    We present results from thermal-infrared observations of binary near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). These objects, in general, have surface temperatures cooler than the average values for non-binary NEAs. We discuss how this may be evidence of higher-than-average surface thermal inertia. The comparison of

  18. Recent Asteroid Disruptions in the WISE Dataset - Constraining Asteroid Surface Properties Using Solar System Dust Bands (United States)

    Kehoe, A. E.; Shaw, C.; Kehoe, T. J. J.


    Zodiacal dust bands are a fine-structure feature of the mid-IR emission profile of the zodiacal cloud. The dust bands have been studied for many years dating back to the InfraRed Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) data of the 1980's. The recent discovery and modeling (Espy et al., 2009; 2010; Espy Kehoe et al., 2015) of a very young, still-forming dust band structure has shown that, in the early stages following an asteroid disruption, much information on the dust parameters of the original disruption is retained in the band. Partial dust bands allow a never-before-seen observational look at the size distribution and cross-sectional area of dust produced in an asteroidal disruption, before it has been lost or significantly altered by orbital and collisional decay. The study of these partial band structures reveals information on the way asteroids disrupt and allow us to reconstruct the surface properties of the parent asteroid, including the depth of the surface regolith and the size distribution of particles composing the regolith. Using the greatly increased sensitivity of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), we can now detect much fainter (and thus younger) dust bands. The WISE data also reveals much better longitudinal resolution of the bands, allowing a better constraint on the source and age of the disruption. We will present our newest results from the WISE dataset, including detection of faint partial dust bands, improved models of more prominent bands, and our constraints on the asteroid surface properties from modeling these structures.

  19. Hayabusa2 Sampler: Collection of Asteroidal Surface Material (United States)

    Sawada, Hirotaka; Okazaki, Ryuji; Tachibana, Shogo; Sakamoto, Kanako; Takano, Yoshinori; Okamoto, Chisato; Yano, Hajime; Miura, Yayoi; Abe, Masanao; Hasegawa, Sunao; Noguchi, Takaaki


    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the asteroid exploration probe "Hayabusa2" in December 3rd, 2014, following the 1st Hayabusa mission. With technological and scientific improvements from the Hayabusa probe, we plan to visit the C-type asteroid 162137 Ryugu (1999 JU3), and to sample surface materials of the C-type asteroid that is likely to be different from the S-type asteroid Itokawa and contain more pristine materials, including organic matter and/or hydrated minerals, than S-type asteroids. We developed the Hayabusa2 sampler to collect a minimum of 100 mg of surface samples including several mm-sized particles at three surface locations without any severe terrestrial contamination. The basic configuration of the sampler design is mainly as same as the 1st Hayabusa (Yano et al. in Science, 312(5778):1350-1353, 2006), with several minor but important modifications based on lessons learned from the Hayabusa to fulfill the scientific requirements and to raise the scientific value of the returned samples.

  20. Near-surface bulk densities of asteroids derived from dual-polarization radar observations (United States)

    Virkki, A.; Taylor, P. A.; Zambrano-Marin, L. F.; Howell, E. S.; Nolan, M. C.; Lejoly, C.; Rivera-Valentin, E. G.; Aponte, B. A.


    We present a new method to constrain the near-surface bulk density and surface roughness of regolith on asteroid surfaces using planetary radar measurements. The number of radar observations has increased rapidly during the last five years, allowing us to compare and contrast the radar scattering properties of different small-body populations and compositional types. This provides us with new opportunities to investigate their near-surface physical properties such as the chemical composition, bulk density, porosity, or the structural roughness in the scale of centimeters to meters. Because the radar signal can penetrate into a planetary surface up to a few decimeters, radar can reveal information that is hidden from other ground-based methods, such as optical and infrared measurements. The near-surface structure of asteroids and comets in centimeter-to-meter scale is essential information for robotic and human space missions, impact threat mitigation, and understanding the history of these bodies as well as the formation of the whole Solar System.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Željko Andreić


    Full Text Available Asteroids are the largest minor bodies in the Solar System. Nowadays they are in the research focus due to several facts about them: first, a subclass of asteroids can collide with Earth, and consequences of such a collision are dramatic. Second, they are now seen as source of materials that are becoming scarce on Earth, and they will be needed in future space constructions anyway. Third, they are holding clues about the origin and evolution of the Solar System. In this article, a short overview of current knowledge about asteroids is presented. Last, but not least, as several Croatian scientists were recently honored by naming an asteroid after them, a short overview of the naming process is given.

  2. Asteroid surface materials: mineralogical characterizations from reflectance spectra

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gaffey, M.J.; McCord, T.B.


    The interpretation of diagnostic parameters in the spectral reflectance data for asteroids provides a means of characterizing the mineralogy and petrology of asteroid surface materials. An interpretive technique based on a quantitative understanding of the functional relationship between the optical properties of a mineral assemblage and its mineralogy, petrology and chemistry can provide a considerably more sophisticated characterization of a single material than any matching or classification technique for those objects bright enough to allow spectral reflectance measurements. Albedos derived from radiometry and polarization data for individual asteroids can be used with spectral data to establish the spectral albedo, to define the optical density of the surface material and, in general to constrain mineralogical interpretations. (Auth.)

  3. Amino Acids in Asteroids and Comets: Implications for the Origin of Life on Earth and Possibly Elsewhere (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel


    Meteorites provide a record of the chemical processes that occurred in the early solar system before life began on Earth. The delivery of organic matter by asteroids, comets, and their fragments to the Earth and other planetary bodies in our solar system could have been an important source of the prebiotic organic inventory needed for the emergence of life. Amino acids are essential components of proteins and enzymes in life on Earth and these prebiotic organic compounds have been detected in a wide variety of carbon-rich meteorites, the majority of which have been determined to be extraterrestrial in origin. In addition, many amino acids are structurally chiral (they possess handedness) and with a few very rare exceptions, only left handed (L) amino acids are found in biology, while all known abiotic syntheses of amino acids result in equal mixtures of left and right handed (LD) amino acids. The discovery of a significant left handed amino acid imbalance of up to 20% in several different carbonaceous meteorites, could point toward a possible prebiotic contribution to the origin of biological homochirality by the exogenous delivery of extraterrestrial organic material to the early Earth. In this talk, I will focus on recent state-of-the-art measurements of the distribution, chirality, and isotopic composition of amino acids in meteorites and cometary samples carried out at the Goddard Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory. Results from the analyses of a variety of Antarctic meteorites, samples from comet Wild 2 returned by the STARDUST mission, and meteorite fragments of asteroid 2008 TC3 called Almahata Sitta recovered from northern Sudan will be discussed

  4. Silicate Phases on the Surfaces of Trojan Asteroids (United States)

    Martin, Audrey; Emery, Joshua P.; Lindsay, Sean S.


    Determining the origin of asteroids provides an effective means of constraining the solar system’s dynamic past. Jupiter Trojan asteroids (hereafter Trojans) may help in determining the amount of radial mixing that occurred during giant planet migration. Previous studies aimed at characterizing surface composition show that Trojans have low albedo surfaces and are spectrally featureless in the near infrared. The thermal infrared (TIR) wavelength range has advantages for detecting silicates on low albedo asteroids such as Trojans. The 10 μm region exhibits strong features due to the Si-O fundamental molecular vibrations. Silicates that formed in the inner solar system likely underwent thermal annealing, and thus are crystalline, whereas silicates that accreted in the outer solar system experienced less thermal processing, and therefore are more likely to have remained in an amorphous phase. We hypothesize that the Trojans formed in the outer solar system (i.e., the Kuiper Belt), and therefore will have a more dominant amorphous spectral silicate component. With TIR spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope, we identify mineralogical features from the surface of 11 Trojan asteroids. Fine-grain mixtures of crystalline pyroxene and olivine exhibit a 10 μm feature with sharp cutoffs between about 9 μm and 12 μm, which create a broad flat plateau. Amorphous phases, when present, smooth the sharp emission features, resulting in a dome-like shape. Preliminary results indicate that the surfaces of analyzed Trojans contain primarily amorphous silicates. Emissivity spectra of asteroids 1986 WD and 4709 Ennomos include small peaks in the 10 μm region, diagnostic of small amounts of crystalline olivine. One explanation is that Trojans formed in the same region as Kuiper Belt objects, and when giant planet migration ensued, they were swept into Jupiter’s stable Lagrange points where they are found today. As such, it is possible that an ancestral group of Kuiper Belt

  5. DIRBE Comet Trails (United States)

    Arendt, Richard G.


    Re-examination of the COBE DIRBE data reveals the thermal emission of several comet dust trails.The dust trails of 1P/Halley, 169P/NEAT, and 3200 Phaethon have not been previously reported.The known trails of 2P/Encke, and 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 are also seen. The dust trails have 12 and 25 microns surface brightnesses of comet, but others are best seen at high ecliptic latitudes as the Earth passes over or under the dust trail. All these comets have known associations with meteor showers. This re-examination also reveals one additional comet and 13 additional asteroids that had not previously been recognized in the DIRBE data.

  6. Analysis of the Touch-And-Go Surface Sampling Concept for Comet Sample Return Missions (United States)

    Mandic, Milan; Acikmese, Behcet; Bayard, David S.; Blackmore, Lars


    This paper studies the Touch-and-Go (TAG) concept for enabling a spacecraft to take a sample from the surface of a small primitive body, such as an asteroid or comet. The idea behind the TAG concept is to let the spacecraft descend to the surface, make contact with the surface for several seconds, and then ascend to a safe location. Sampling would be accomplished by an end-effector that is active during the few seconds of surface contact. The TAG event is one of the most critical events in a primitive body sample-return mission. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the dynamic behavior of a representative spacecraft during the TAG event, i.e., immediately prior, during, and after surface contact of the sampler. The study evaluates the sample-collection performance of the proposed sampling end-effector, in this case a brushwheel sampler, while acquiring material from the surface during the contact. A main result of the study is a guidance and control (G&C) validation of the overall TAG concept, in addition to specific contributions to demonstrating the effectiveness of using nonlinear clutch mechanisms in the sampling arm joints, and increasing the length of the sampling arms to improve robustness.

  7. Cometary Volatiles and the Origin of Comets (United States)

    A'Hearn, Michael F.; Feaga, Lori M.; Keller, H. Uwe; Kawakita, Hideyo; Hampton, Donald L.; Kissel, Jochen; Klaasen, Kenneth P.; McFadden, Lucy A.; Meech, Karen J.; Schultz, Peter H.; hide


    We describe recent results on the CO/C02/H2O composition of comets and compare these with models of the protoplanetary disk. We argue that the cometary observations require reactions on grain surfaces to convert CO to CO2 and also require formation between the CO and CO2 snow lines. This then requires very early mixing of cometesimals in the protoplanetary disk analogous to the mixing described for the asteroid belt by Walsh and Morbidelli. We suggest that most comets formed in the region of the giant planets. the traditional source of the Oort-cloud comets but not of the Jupiter-family comets

  8. Asteroids IV (United States)

    Michel, Patrick; DeMeo, Francesca E.; Bottke, William F.

    . Asteroids, like planets, are driven by a great variety of both dynamical and physical mechanisms. In fact, images sent back by space missions show a collection of small worlds whose characteristics seem designed to overthrow our preconceived notions. Given their wide range of sizes and surface compositions, it is clear that many formed in very different places and at different times within the solar nebula. These characteristics make them an exciting challenge for researchers who crave complex problems. The return of samples from these bodies may ultimately be needed to provide us with solutions. In the book Asteroids IV, the editors and authors have taken major strides in the long journey toward a much deeper understanding of our fascinating planetary ancestors. This book reviews major advances in 43 chapters that have been written and reviewed by a team of more than 200 international authorities in asteroids. It is aimed to be as comprehensive as possible while also remaining accessible to students and researchers who are interested in learning about these small but nonetheless important worlds. We hope this volume will serve as a leading reference on the topic of asteroids for the decade to come. We are deeply indebted to the many authors and referees for their tremendous efforts in helping us create Asteroids IV. We also thank the members of the Asteroids IV scientific organizing committee for helping us shape the structure and content of the book. The conference associated with the book, "Asteroids Comets Meteors 2014" held June 30-July 4, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland, did an outstanding job of demonstrating how much progress we have made in the field over the last decade. We are extremely grateful to our host Karri Muinonnen and his team. The editors are also grateful to the Asteroids IV production staff, namely Renée Dotson and her colleagues at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, for their efforts, their invaluable assistance, and their enthusiasm; they made life as

  9. Laboratory Studies of Fischer-Tropsch-Type Reactions and Their Implications for Organics in Asteroids and Comets (United States)

    Nuth, Joseph


    We have been studying Fischer-Tropsch type (FTT) reactions as a source for organic materials both in the gas phase of the solar nebula and incorporated into primitive comets and asteroids for almost 10 years, and over this time our concept has evolved greatly from the standard "catalytic" model to a much more robust chemical scenario. Our simulations have been conducted at temperatures that are much higher than we like, primarily for practical reasons such as the timescale of individual reactions, and we are just starting a series of measurements to allow us to measure reaction rates at temperatures from 873K down to as low as 373K. We have preliminary data on the carbon (d13C = -50) & nitrogen (d15N = +9.5) isotopic fractionation at 873K, but not on materials produced at lower temperature. Isotope values are on the VPDB scale for carbon and vs. Air for nitrogen. We have also investigated the noble gas trapping efficiency of the FTT process by adding a small amount of a noble gas mix to our standard synthesis mix. The noble gas ratio is 49:49:1:1::Ne:Ar:Kr:Xe. Xe and Kr are trapped at 873K and are more efficiently trapped at 673K with no isotopic fractionation at either temperature. Ar trapping is detected at 673K, but not at 873K. Ne has not yet been observed in our samples. The solar nebula was an extremely complex system, mixing materials from the innermost regions out to well into the zones where comets formed and thus mixing highly processed nebular materials with grains and coatings formed before the nebula began to collapse. Laboratory studies may provide the means to separate such diverse components based on carbon or nitrogen isotopic fractionation or the quantities of noble gases trapped in grain coatings and their thermal release patterns, among other observables. The ultimate goal of laboratory synthesis of nebular analogs is to provide the means to identifY the conditions under which natural samples were formed and the signatures of subsequent

  10. Applications of granular-dynamics numerical simulations to asteroid surfaces (United States)

    Richardson, D. C.; Michel, P.; Schwartz, S. R.; Yu, Y.; Ballouz, R.-L.; Matsumura, S.


    Spacecraft images and indirect observations including thermal inertia measurements indicate most small bodies have surface regolith. Evidence of granular flow is also apparent in the images. This material motion occurs in very low gravity, therefore in a totally different gravitational environment than on the Earth. Upcoming sample-return missions to small bodies, and possible future manned missions, will involve interaction with the surface regolith, so it is important to develop tools to predict the surface response. We have added new capabilities to the N-body gravity tree code pkdgrav [1,2] that permit the simulation of granular dynamics, including multi-contact physics and friction forces, using the soft-sphere discrete-element method [3]. The numerical approach has been validated through comparison with laboratory experiments (e.g., [3,4]). (1) We carried out impacts into granular materials using different projectile shapes under Earth's gravity [5] and compared the results to laboratory experiments [6] in support of JAXA's Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample-return mission. We tested different projectile shapes and confirmed that the 90-degree cone was the most efficient at excavating mass when impacting 5-mm-diameter glass beads. Results are sensitive to the normal coefficient of restitution and the coefficient of static friction. Preliminary experiments in micro-gravity for similar impact conditions show both the amount of ejected mass and the timescale of the impact process increase, as expected. (2) It has been found (e.g., [7,8]) that ''fresh'' (unreddened) Q-class asteroids have a high probability of recent planetary encounters (˜1 Myr; also see [9]), suggesting that surface refreshening may have occurred due to tidal effects. As an application of the potential effect of tidal interactions, we carried out simulations of Apophis' predicted 2029 encounter with the Earth to see whether regolith motion might occur, using a range of plausible material parameters

  11. The Manson impact crater: Estimation of the energy of formation, possible size of the impacting asteroid or comet, and ejecta volume and mass (United States)

    Roddy, D. J.; Shoemaker, E. M.; Anderson, R. R.


    A research program on the Manson impact structure has substantially improved our knowledge of the detailed features of this eroded crater. As part of our structural studies, we have derived a value of 21 km for the diameter of the final transient cavity formed during crater excavation. With this information, we can estimate the energy of formation of the Manson crater and the possible size of the impacting asteroid or comet. In addition, we have estimated the near- and far-field ejecta volumes and masses.

  12. Great Comets (United States)

    Burnham, Robert


    Spectacular and mysterious objects that come and go in the night sky, comets have dwelt in our popular culture for untold ages. As remnants from the formation of the Solar system, they are objects of key scientific research and space missions. As one of nature's most potent and dramatic dangers, they pose a threat to our safety--and yet they were the origin of our oceans and perhaps even life itself. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the biggest and most awe-inspiring of all comets: those that have earned the title "Great." Robert Burnham focuses on the Great comets Hyakutake in 1996 and Hale-Bopp in 1997, which gripped attention worldwide because, for many, they were the first comets ever seen. He places these two recent comets in the context of their predecessors from past ages, among them the famous Comet Halley. Great Comets explains the exciting new discoveries that have come from these magnificent objects and profiles the spaceprobes to comets due for launch in the next few years. The book even takes a peek behind Hollywood's science-fiction fantasies to assess the real risks humanity faces from potential impacts of both comets and asteroids. For everyone interested in astronomy, this exciting book reveals the secrets of the Great Comets and provides essential tools for keeping up to date with comet discoveries in the future. Robert Burnham has been an amateur astronomer since the mid-1950s. He has been a senior editor of Astronomy magazine (1986-88) and is the author of many books and CD-ROMS, including Comet Hale-Bopp: Find and Enjoy the Great Comet and Comet Explorer.

  13. Investigating the Effects of Temperature on the Signatures of Shocks Propagated Through Impacts into Minerals Found in Comets and Asteroids (United States)

    Lederer, Susan M.; Jensen, E. A.; Fane, M.; Smith, D. C.; Holmes, J.; Keller, L. P.; Lindsay, S. S.; Wooden, D. H.; Cintala, M. J.; Zolensky, M. E.


    Comets and asteroids are subjected to extremely cold conditions throughout their lifetimes. During their sojourns in the solar system, they are subjected to collisions at speeds that are easily capable of generating shock waves in their constituent materials. In addition to ices, more common silicate minerals such as olivines and pyroxenes are important components of these objects. The collision-induced shocks could affect the spectral signatures of those mineral components, which could in turn be detected telescopically. We have embarked on a project to determine how impact-generated shock might affect the reflectance spectra and structures of select silicates as both impact speed and target temperature are varied systematically. While the effects of impact speed (in the form of shock stress) on numerous materials have been and continue to be studied, the role of target temperature has received comparatively little attention, presumably because of the operational difficulties it can introduce to experimentation. Our experiments were performed with the vertical gun in the Experimental Impact Laboratory of the Johnson Space Center. A liquid-nitrogen system was plumbed to permit cooling of the target container and its contents under vacuum to temperatures as low as -100 C (173 K). Temperatures were monitored by thermocouples mounted on the outside of the target container. Because those sensors were not in contact with the target material at impact, the measured temperatures are treated as lower limits for the actual values. Peridot (Mg-rich olivine) and enstatite (Mg-rich orthopyroxene) were used as targets, which involved the impact of alumina (Al2O3) spheres at speeds of 2.0 - 2.7 km s(exp -1) and temperatures covering 25 C to -100 C (298 K to 173 K). We have begun collecting and analyzing data in the near to mid-IR with a Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer, and preliminary analyses show that notable differences in absorption-band strength and position occur

  14. Physical characterization of asteroid surfaces from photometric analysis (United States)

    Helfenstein, P.; Veverka, J.


    The feasibility of using photometric models like Hapke's (1981, 1984, 1986) equation for deriving physical properties of asteroids from photometric observations is discussed. Using data for Ceres and Vesta, it is shown that the incomplete phase-angle coverage limits the reliable determination of Hapke's photometric parameters from asteroid disk-integrated phase curves (the second limitation is the nonsphericity of many asteroids). However, within this limitations, certain trends among asteroids can be compared. It is shown that there is a general similarity among the Hapke's parameters other than the h parameter, which characterizes the width of the opposition surge in terms of soil structure (porosity, particle-size distribution, and the rate of compaction with depth), derived for similar objects, e.g., average C asteroids and Ceres, and average S asteroids, 1982 Apollo, and Vesta.

  15. Photometry of faint asteroids and satellites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Degewij, J.


    The smaller asteroids, having diameters of about 1 km, appear to rotate faster than do the larger asteroids (approximately 200 km diameter). Most of the bodies may be nearly spherical, probably due to a collisional erosion process in the Main Belt of asteroids. The distributions of diameter versus number were studied for low albedo (C, for carbonaceous) and high albedo (S, for silicaceous) type asteroids in the main belt, down to diameters of 25 km. Among the smaller bodies the S type asteroids are relatively more abundant, probably due to greater crushing strength for S type asteroids. This indicates that both optical types have also different properties in the interior of the body. Areas with slightly different reflectivity over the surface of an asteroid were detected; the rotational light variation of asteroid 4 (Vesta) was found to be caused by spots on its surface. Colorimetry and infrared radiometry of some Hilda asteroids, Trojans and the fainter satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, all having diameters between 100 and 200 km, show that a mixture of types exist. If some asteroids are nearly expended nuclei of comets that lost most of their volatile gaseous material, then their cometary activity is expected to be extinct or at least weak. (Auth.)

  16. Poincaré surfaces of section around a 3D irregular body: the case of asteroid 4179 Toutatis (United States)

    Borderes-Motta, G.; Winter, O. C.


    In general, small bodies of the Solar system, e.g. asteroids and comets, have a very irregular shape. This feature affects significantly the gravitational potential around these irregular bodies, which hinders dynamical studies. The Poincaré surface of section technique is often used to look for stable and chaotic regions in two-dimensional dynamic cases. In this work, we show that this tool can be useful for exploring the surroundings of irregular bodies such as the asteroid 4179 Toutatis. Considering a rotating system with a particle, under the effect of the gravitational field computed three dimensionally, we define a plane in the phase space to build the Poincaré surface of section. Despite the extra dimension, the sections created allow us to find trajectories and classify their stabilities. Thus, we have also been able to map stable and chaotic regions, as well as to find correlations between those regions and the contribution of the third dimension of the system to the trajectory dynamics as well. As examples, we show details of periodic (resonant or not) and quasi-periodic trajectories.

  17. A Comet Surface Sample Return System, Phase II (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The proposed Phase II investigation will focus on the development of spacecraft systems required to obtain a sample from the nucleus of a comet, hermetically seal...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains two-dimensional infrared thermal maps of the surface of comet 9P/Tempel 1. The maps were derived from three spatially resolved scans of the...

  19. Characterization of Surface Heterogeneity among Asteroid Taxonomic Classes according to Sloan Digital Sky Survey Observations (United States)

    Pinkham, Sunny; Ziffer, Julie; Nelson, Tyler


    This research characterizes the extent of surface heterogeneity among asteroid classes by the extent of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) color variance within multiple observations of the same asteroid. The SDSS MOC4 database includes data from 220,101 observations of 104,449 unique objects. The amount of multiple observations of one target makes it ideal for statistically analyzing the surface inhomogeneity of asteroid surfaces. Information from the SDSS MOC4 database (below an error threshold determined from standard error propagation techniques and the interquartile range) is combined with information from the classification in Carvano et al. (2010) to analyze asteroid surface heterogeneity based on taxonomic class. Individual observations are grouped by asteroid, and asteroids are grouped by class. The standard deviation of each normalized SDSS color (i.e. u-r, g-r, r-i, r-z) for each asteroid with multiple observations is calculated. The mean of the standard deviations is then computed for a given class. Comparison of the size of the average standard deviation to the size of the error determines the extent of true variance within a normalized color in a class. The effect of phase angles on SDSS data, as discussed in Carvano et al. (2015), are considered. Additionally, implications for space weathering and evolutionary relationships between taxonomic classes are explored.

  20. On the attempts to measure water (and other volatiles) directly at the surface of a comet (United States)

    Wright, I. P.; Sheridan, S.; Morgan, G. H.; Barber, S. J.; Morse, A. D.


    The Ptolemy instrument on the Philae lander (of the Rosetta space mission) was able to make measurements of the major volatiles, water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, directly at the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. We give some background to the mission and highlight those instruments that have already given insights into the notion of water in comets, and which will continue to do so as more results are either acquired or more fully interpreted. On the basis of our results, we show how comets may in fact be heterogeneous over their surface, and how surface measurements can be used in a quest to comprehend the daily cycles of processes that affect the evolution of comets. This article is part of the themed issue 'The origin, history and role of water in the evolution of the inner Solar System'.

  1. Colour, albedo and nucleus size of Halley's comet (United States)

    Cruikshank, D. P.; Tholen, D. J.; Hartmann, W. K.


    Photometry of Halley's comet in the B, J, V, and K broadband filters during a time when the coma was very weak and presumed to contribute negligibly to the broadband photometry is reported. The V-J and J-K colors suggest that the color of the nucleus of Halley's comet is similar to that of the D-type asteroids, which in turn suggests that the surface of the nucleus has an albedo less than 0.1.

  2. DRBE comet trails

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Arendt, Richard G., E-mail: [CREST/UMBC, Code 665, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)


    Re-examination of the Cosmic Background Explorer Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) data reveals the thermal emission of several comet dust trails. The dust trails of 1P/Halley, 169P/NEAT, and 3200 Phaethon have not been previously reported. The known trails of 2P/Encke and 73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 are also seen. The dust trails have 12 and 25 μm surface brightnesses of <0.1 and <0.15 MJy sr{sup −1}, respectively, which is <1% of the zodiacal light intensity. The trails are very difficult to see in any single daily image of the sky, but are evident as rapidly moving linear features in movies of the DIRBE data. Some trails are clearest when crossing through the orbital plane of the parent comet, but others are best seen at high ecliptic latitudes as the Earth passes over or under the dust trail. All these comets have known associations with meteor showers. This re-examination also reveals 1 additional comet and 13 additional asteroids that had not previously been recognized in the DIRBE data.

  3. MASCOT—The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout Onboard the Hayabusa2 Mission (United States)

    Ho, Tra-Mi; Baturkin, Volodymyr; Grimm, Christian; Grundmann, Jan Thimo; Hobbie, Catherin; Ksenik, Eugen; Lange, Caroline; Sasaki, Kaname; Schlotterer, Markus; Talapina, Maria; Termtanasombat, Nawarat; Wejmo, Elisabet; Witte, Lars; Wrasmann, Michael; Wübbels, Guido; Rößler, Johannes; Ziach, Christian; Findlay, Ross; Biele, Jens; Krause, Christian; Ulamec, Stephan; Lange, Michael; Mierheim, Olaf; Lichtenheldt, Roy; Maier, Maximilian; Reill, Josef; Sedlmayr, Hans-Jürgen; Bousquet, Pierre; Bellion, Anthony; Bompis, Olivier; Cenac-Morthe, Celine; Deleuze, Muriel; Fredon, Stephane; Jurado, Eric; Canalias, Elisabet; Jaumann, Ralf; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Glassmeier, Karl Heinz; Hercik, David; Grott, Matthias; Celotti, Luca; Cordero, Federico; Hendrikse, Jeffrey; Okada, Tatsuaki


    On December 3rd, 2014, the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) launched successfully the Hayabusa2 (HY2) spacecraft to its journey to Near Earth asteroid (162173) Ryugu. Aboard this spacecraft is a compact landing package, MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid surface SCOuT), which was developed by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in collaboration with the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Similar to the famous predecessor mission Hayabusa, Hayabusa2, will also study an asteroid and return samples to Earth. This time, however, the target is a C-type asteroid which is considered to be more primitive than (25143) Itokawa and provide insight into an even earlier stage of our Solar System.

  4. Changing Speed of Comets (United States)

    Follows, Mike


    It is shown that highly elliptical orbits, such as those of comets, can be explained well in terms of energy rather than forces. The principle of conservation of energy allows a comet's velocity to be calculated at aphelion and perihelion. An example asks students to calculate whether they can run fast enough to escape from a small asteroid.…

  5. Inverting Comet Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) touchdown signals to measure the elastic modulus of comet material (United States)

    Arnold, W.; Faber, C.; Knapmeyer, M.; Witte, L.; Schröder, S.; Tune, J.; Möhlmann, D.; Roll, R.; Chares, B.; Fischer, H.; Seidensticker, K.


    The landing of Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is scheduled for November 11, 2014. Each of the three landing feet of Philae house a triaxial acceleration sensor of CASSE, which will thus be the first sensors to be in mechanical contact with the cometary surface. CASSE will be in listening mode to record the deceleration of the lander, when it impacts with the comet at a velocity of approx. 0.5 m/s. The analysis of this data yields information on the reduced elastic modulus and the yield stress of the comet's surface material. We describe a series of controlled landings of a lander model. The tests were conducted in the Landing & Mobility Test Facility (LAMA) of the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, Germany, where an industrial robot can be programmed to move landers or rovers along predefined paths, allowing to adapt landing procedures with predefined velocities. The qualification model of the Philae landing gear was used in the tests. It consists of three legs manufactured of carbon fiber and metal joints. A dead mass of the size and mass of the lander housing is attached via a damper above the landing gear to represent the lander structure as a whole. Attached to each leg is a foot with two soles and a mechanically driven fixation screw (''ice screw'') to secure the lander on the comet. The right soles, if viewed from the outside towards the lander body, house a Brüel & Kjaer DeltaTron 4506 triaxial piezoelectric accelerometer as used on the spacecraft. Orientation of the three axes was such that one of the axes, here the X-axis of the accelerometer, points downwards, while the Y- and Z-axes are horizontal. Data were recorded at a sampling rate of 8.2 kHz within a time gate of 2 s. In parallel, a video sequence was taken, in order to monitor the touchdown on the sand and the movement of the ice screws. Touchdown measurements were conducted on three types of ground with landing velocities between 0.1 to 1.1 m/s. Landings with low velocities were

  6. Peculiar Betulia Re-visited: A Near-Earth Asteroid with a Bare-Rock Surface?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Harris, A. W.; Mueller, M.; Delbo, M.; Bus, S. J.


    The small C-type asteroid (1580) Betulia is an unusual near-Earth object (NEO) with a lightcurve that changes dramatically with changing solar phase angle, presumably due to a highly irregular shape and/or unusual topographic features. Earlier thermal-infrared observations indicated a surface of

  7. Surface of the comet 67P from PHILAE/CIVA images as clues to the formation of the comet nucleus (United States)

    Poulet, Francois; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Carter, John; Eng, Pascal; Gondet, Brigitte; Jorda, Laurent; Langevin, Yves; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Pilorget, Cédric


    The CIVA cameras onboard PHILAE provided the first ever in situ images of the surface of a comet (Bibring et al., this conf). The panorama acquired by CIVA at the landing site reveals a rough terrain dominated by agglomerates of consolidated materials similar to cm-sized pebbles. While the composition of these materials is unknown, their nature will be discussed in relation to both endogenic and exogenic processes that may sculpted the landscape of the landing site. These processes includes erosion (spatially non-uniform) by sublimation, redeposition of particles after ejection, fluidization and transport of cometary material on the surface, sintering effect, thermal fatigue, thermal stress, size segregation due to shaking, eolian erosion due to local outflow of cometary vapor and impact cratering at various scales. Recent advancements in planet formation theory suggest that the initial planetesimals (or cometestimals) may grow directly from the gravitational collapse of aerodynamically concentrated small particles, often referred to as "pebbles" (Johansen et al. 2007, Nature 448, 1022; Cuzzi et al. 2008, AJ 687, 1432). We will then discuss the possibility that the observed pebble pile structures are indicative of the formation process from which the initial nucleus formed, and how we can use this idea to learn about protoplanetary disks and the early processes involved in the Solar System formation.

  8. Data base on physical observations of near-Earth asteroids and establishment of a network to coordinate observations of newly discovered near-Earth asteroids (United States)

    Davis, D. R.; Chapman, C. R.; Campins, H.


    This program consists of two tasks: (1) development of a data base of physical observations of near-earth asteroids and establishment of a network to coordinate observations of newly discovered earth-approaching asteroids; and (2) a simulation of the surface of low-activity comets. Significant progress was made on task one and, and task two was completed during the period covered by this progress report.

  9. Validation and Sensitivity Analysis of 3D Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imaging of the Interior of Primitive Solar System Bodies: Comets and Asteroids Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — To probe the interior of a comet, we are going to employ Radar Reflection Imager (RRI) Instrument on an orbiting platform. While orbiting around the comet at a safe...

  10. Planetary Laser Raman Spectroscopy for Surface Exploration on C/D-Type Asteroids — A Case Study (United States)

    Kong, W. G.; Wang, A.


    A laser Raman spectroscopic study on Murchison and Allende meteorites provide detailed information on major, minor, and trace minerals information. This study demonstrates the feasibility of LR for surface exploration missions to C/D-type asteroids.

  11. Comet 169P/NEAT(=2002EX12): More Dead Than Alive (United States)

    Kasuga, T.; Balam, D. D.; Wiegert, P. A.


    The Jupiter family comet 169P/NEAT (previously known as asteroid 2002 EX12) has a dynamical association with the ?-Capriconid meteoroid stream. In this paper, we present photometric observations of comet 169P/NEAT to further investigate the physical characters of its disintegration state related to the stream. The comet shows a point-like surface brightness profile limiting contamination due to coma emission at ˜ 4% at most, indicating no evidence of outgassing. An upper limit on the fraction of the surface that could be sublimating water ice of disintegration of the parent at every return.

  12. Network of Nano-Landers for In-Situ Characterization of Asteroid Impact Studies


    Kalita, Himangshu; Asphaug, Erik; Schwartz, Stephen; Thangavelautham, Jekanthan


    Exploration of asteroids and comets can give insight into the origins of the solar system and can be instrumental in planetary defence and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). Asteroids, due to their low gravity are a challenging target for surface exploration. Current missions envision performing touch-and-go operations over an asteroid surface. In this work, we analyse the feasibility of sending scores of nano-landers, each 1 kg in mass and volume of 1U, or 1000 cm3. These landers would hop...

  13. Investigating the surface and subsurface properties of the Didymos binary asteroid with a landed CubeSat (United States)

    Murdoch, Naomi; Cadu, Alexandre; Mimoun, David; Karatekin, Ozgur; Garcia, Raphael; Carrasco, José; Garcia de Quiros, Javier; Vasseur, Hugues; Ritter, Birgit; Eubanks, Marshall; Radley, Charles; Dehant, Veronique


    Despite the successes of recent space missions (e.g., Cheng et al., 1997; Fujiwara et al., 2006), there is still no clear understanding of the asteroid internal structure(s). Depending on their size, evolution and physical properties, many different asteroid internal structure models have been suggested from completely cohesive bodies, through to rubble pile objects. The Asteroid Geophysical Explorer (AGEX), a COPINS payload selected by ESA*, will land geophysical instrument packages on the surface of Didymoon; the secondary object in the (65803) Didymos (1996 GT) binary system (Karatekin et al 2016). The instruments will characterize the asteroid surface mechanical properties and probe, for the first time, the sub-surface structure of an asteroid. AGEX will be deployed from AIM on a ballistic transfer to the asteroid surface, several days before the MASCOT-2 package. We expect that AGEX will bounce multiple times before coming to rest on the surface of the asteroid thus providing a unique opportunity to study the asteroid surface properties, perhaps at several locations, using accelerometers. Once stationary, the seismological surface-monitoring phase, using a three-axis set of geophones, can begin. The high speed DART impact will be a major seismic source on Didymoon. However, the seismic payload may also be able to perform seismological investigations using natural seismic sources such as micrometeoroid impacts (e.g., Garcia et al., 2015), thermal cracks (e.g., Delbo et al., 2014), internal quakes due to tidal forces (e.g., Richardson et al. 1998) and other geophysical processes (see Murdoch et al., 2015). We will present the expected signal characteristics of the landing and also of the natural seismic sources that may occur on Didymoon. An understanding of the amplitude and frequency content of such signals is necessary in order to design the optimal geophysical payload for small body exploration using a CubeSat platform. [1.] Cheng, A. et al., Journal of

  14. Comet 67P's morphological dichotomy and surface evolution from the Rosetta/OSIRIS camera (United States)

    Ramy El-Maarry, M.; Thomas, Nicolas; Gracia-Berná, Antonio; Pajola, Maurizio; Groussin, Olivier; ROSETTA/OSIRIS


    The Rosetta mission orbited comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Aug, 2014 to Sep, 2016. During this time, it obtained the most comprehensive image dataset for a comet's nucleus in terms of resolution, as well as spatial and temporal coverage, using the OSIRIS camera. These images have shown the surface of the comet to be very diverse in its texture and geology. In particular, the 2-year duration of the mission permitted imaging of both hemispheres and the possibility to assess the morphology and surface evolution of comet's 67P's northern hemisphere before and after perihelion passage (in Aug, 2015). The northern hemisphere (NH) is morphologically diverse including regions of consolidated, often fractured materials, smooth terrains showing aeolian-like landforms and seasonal variations, dust-covered areas suggestive of an air-fall-like mechanism, and irregular large-scale depressions suggestive of massive outburst activities. On the other hand, the southern hemisphere (SH) shows a clear dichotomy with the North showing regionally rougher terrains with little or no smooth deposits. Similarly, dusty coatings that were observed in the northern hemisphere are generally lacking in addition to the absence of large depressions. Overall, the SH shows significantly less topographical variation in comparison to the NH. The difference in relief between the NH and SH may be explained by the differences in erosional extent between both hemispheres. The SH has a shorter yet more intensive summer (close to perihelion), which could result in levels of erosion in the SH that are up to a factor of 3 higher than that of the NH. Another notable difference between both hemispheres is the absence of smooth deposits and dust coatings in the SH. The absence of similar deposits in the south may suggest that activity in the SH occurs with much higher intensity leading to ejection of dust particles at velocities exceeding comet's escape velocity. During the meeting, we plan to summarize the

  15. Where Do Comets Come From? (United States)

    Van Flandern, Tom


    Proposes a new origin for comets in the solar system, namely, that comets originated in the breakup of a body orbiting the sun in or near the present location of the asteroid belt in the relatively recent past. Predictions related to the theory are discussed. (Author/JN)

  16. ISO's analysis of Comet Hale-Bopp (United States)


    The European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory ISO inspected Comet Hall-Bopp during the spring and autumn of 1996. The need to keep ISO's telescope extremely cold restricts the spacecraft's pointing in relation to the Sun and the Earth and it ruled out observations at other times. The analyses of the 1996 observations are not yet complete, but already they give new insight into the nature of comets. Comet Hale-Bopp is believed to be a large comet with a nucleus up to 40 kilometres wide. It was discovered in July 1995 by two American astronomers working independently, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp. At that time, the comet was a billion kilometres away from the Sun, but 200 times brighter than Halley's Comet was, when at a comparable distance. Comet Hale-Bopp will make its closest approach to the Earth on 22 March, and its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) on 1 April 1997. Some scientific results from ISO The discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp occurred before ISO's launch in November 1995. When first observed by ISO in March and April 1996, the comet was still 700 million kilometres from the Sun, and almost as far from the Earth and ISO. With its privileged view of infrared wavebands inaccessible from the Earth's surface, ISO's photometer ISOPHOT discovered that carbon dioxide was an important constituent of the comet's emissions of vapour.ISOPHOT measured the temperature of the dust cloud around Comet Hale-Bopp. In March 1996, when the comet was still more than 700 million kilometres from the Sun, the dust cloud was at minus 120 degrees C. When ISOPHOT made similar observations in October 1996, the comet was 420 million kilometres from the Sun, and the dust cloud had warmed to about minus 50 degrees C. Intensive observations of Comet Hale-Bopp were also made by ISO's Short-Wave Spectrometer SWS, the Long-Wave Spectrometer LWS, and the ISOPHOT spectrometer PHOT-S. Results are due for publication at the end of March. They will give details about the composition

  17. Surface Activity Distributions of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Derived from VIRTIS Images (United States)

    Fougere, Nicolas; Combi, Michael R.; Tenishev, Valeriy; Migliorini, Alessandra; Bockelee-Morvan, Dominique; Fink, Uwe; Filacchione, Gianrico; Rinaldi, Giovanna; Capaccioni, Fabrizio; Toth, Gabor; Gombosi, T. I.; Hansen, Kenneth C.; Huang, Zhenguang; Shou, Yinsi; VIRTIS Team


    The outgassing mechanism of comets still remains a critical question to better understand these objects. The Rosetta mission gave some insight regarding the potential activity distribution from the surface of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Fougere et al. (2016, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 588, id.A134, 11 pp and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 462, Issue Suppl_1, p.S156-S169) used a spherical harmonics inversion scheme with in-situ measurements from the ROSINA instrument to derive mapping of the broad distribution of potential activity at the surface of the nucleus. Marschall et al. (2016, Astronomy & Astrophysics, doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201730849) based on the appearance of dust active areas suggested that the so-called “neck” region and regions with fractured cliffs and locally steep slopes show more activity than the rest of comet 67P’s nucleus. Using in situ ROSINA measurements from a distance makes it difficult to distinguish between these two scenarios because the fast expansion of the gas and large molecular mean free paths prevents distinguishing small outgassing features even when the spacecraft was in bound orbits within 10 km from the nucleus. In this paper, we present a similar numerical inversion approach using VIRTIS images, which should better probe the very inner coma of comet 67P and give more detailed information about the outgassing activity. Support from contracts JPL #1266314 and #1266313 from the US Rosetta Project and grant NNX14AG84G from the NASA Planetary Atmospheres Program are gratefully acknowledged.

  18. Asteroid strikes cause the Moon's surface to smooth (United States)

    Schultz, Colin


    The lunar surface is marred by impact craters, remnants of the collisions that have occurred over the past 4.5 billion years. The Orientale basin, the Moon's most recently formed sizable crater, stands out from the rest. The crater, which lies along the southwestern boundary between the near and far sides of the moon, appears as a dark spot ringed by concentric circles of ejecta that reach more than 900 kilometers from the impact location. Though other craters have similar rings, the lunar surface surrounding the Orientale basin is unusually rough with reduced concavity. The anomalous features were identified by Kreslavsky and Head after they produced a map of the lunar surface topographic roughness using observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

  19. The gravimeter "B-grave" for the in-situ surface gravity measurements of an asteroid (United States)

    van Ruymbeke, Michel; karatekin, ozgur; rasson, jean; wielant, françois; dumont, Phillipe; Ritter, Birgit; zhu, Ping


    In the context of the preliminary study phase for the CubeSats supporting ESA's Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) to the Didymos, we investigate a miniaturized gravimeter as part of the geophysical instrument package for the Asteroid Geophysical Explorer (AGEX). AGEX intends to land a CubeSat on the secondary object in the Didymos system, Didymoon in order to characterize the asteroid surface and internal structure A 3D compact gravimeter is developed at the Royal Observatory of Belgium. Its design allows to meter a weak 50 μm/sec² gravity field corresponding to 5 ppm of Earth gravity in a harsh environment. A system with three components mounted in an orthogonal geometry allows obtaining the gravity field in amplitude and in angular position without any requirement of levelling. B-GRAVES will use a in-situ calibration and multi-parameter approach for validation of the measurements. A laboratory simulation is induced with centrifugal forces applied to the pendulum set-up in a vertical position to reject the Earth gravity field. Signal treatment and uncertainties are discussed keeping in mind questions of thermal and vibration influence. The B-GRAVES can serve as a novel and robust instrument for future lander and rover missions .

  20. PHYS: Division of Physical Chemistry 258 - Properties and Origins of Cometary and Asteroidal Organic Matter Delivered to the Early Earth (United States)

    Messenger, Scott; Nguyen, Ann


    Comets and asteroids may have contributed much of the Earth's water and organic matter. The Earth accretes approximately 4x10(exp 7) Kg of dust and meteorites from these sources every year. The least altered meteorites contain complex assemblages of organic compounds and abundant hydrated minerals. These carbonaceous chondrite meteorites probably derive from asteroids that underwent hydrothermal processing within the first few million years after their accretion. Meteorite organics show isotopic and chemical signatures of low-T ion-molecule and grain-surface chemistry and photolysis of icy grains that occurred in cold molecular clouds and the outer protoplanetary disk. These signatures have been overprinted by aqueously mediated chemistry in asteroid parent bodies, forming amino acids and other prebiotic molecules. Comets are much richer in organic matter but it is less well characterized. Comet dust collected in the stratosphere shows larger H and N isotopic anomalies than most meteorites, suggesting better preservation of primordial organics. Rosetta studies of comet 67P coma dust find complex organic matter that may be related to the macromolecular material that dominates the organic inventory of primitive meteorites. The exogenous organic material accreting on Earth throughout its history is made up of thousands of molecular species formed in diverse processes ranging from circumstellar outflows to chemistry at near absolute zero in dark cloud cores and the formative environment within minor planets. NASA and JAXA are currently flying sample return missions to primitive, potentially organic-rich asteroids. The OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 missions will map their target asteroids, Bennu and Ryugu, in detail and return regolith samples to Earth. Laboratory analyses of these pristine asteroid samples will provide unprecedented views of asteroidal organic matter relatively free of terrestrial contamination within well determined geological context. Studies of

  1. A mechanism for comet surface collapse as observed by Rosetta on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (United States)

    Prialnik, D.; Sierks, H.


    We explore a possible mechanism that may explain sudden depressions of surface areas on a comet nucleus, as suggested by observations of the Rosetta mission on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (hereafter, 67P/C-G). Assuming the area is covered by a thin, compact dust layer of low permeability to gas flow compared to deeper, porous layers, gas can accumulate below the surface when a surge of gas release from amorphous ice occurs upon crystallization. The gas pressure is found to exceed the hydrostatic pressure down to a depth of a few metres. The rapid build-up of pressure may weaken the already fragile, highly porous structure. Eventually, the high pressure gradient that arises drives the gas out and the pressure falls well below the hydrostatic pressure. The rapid pressure drop may result in collapse. Since the crystallization front lies at some depth below the surface, the location on the orbit when this phenomenon occurs is determined by the thermal lag, which, in turn, depends on the thermal conductivity. Numerical simulations show that mostly such activity occurs post-perihelion, but it may also occur pre-perihelion. When permeability is uniform, crystallization still causes increased gas production, but the gas pressure inside the nucleus remains below hydrostatic pressure.

  2. Asteroid Family Associations of Active Asteroids (United States)

    Hsieh, Henry H.; Novaković, Bojan; Kim, Yoonyoung; Brasser, Ramon


    We report on the results of a systematic search for associated asteroid families for all active asteroids known to date. We find that 10 out of 12 main-belt comets (MBCs) and five out of seven disrupted asteroids are linked with known or candidate families, rates that have ∼0.1% and ∼6% probabilities, respectively, of occurring by chance, given the overall family association rate of 37% for asteroids in the main asteroid belt. We find previously unidentified family associations between 238P/Read and the candidate Gorchakov family, 311P/PANSTARRS and the candidate Behrens family, 324P/La Sagra and the Alauda family, 354P/LINEAR and the Baptistina family, P/2013 R3-B (Catalina-PANSTARRS) and the Mandragora family, P/2015 X6 (PANSTARRS) and the Aeolia family, P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS) and the Adeona family, and P/2016 J1-A/B (PANSTARRS) and the Theobalda family. All MBCs with family associations belong to families that contain asteroids with primitive taxonomic classifications and low average reported albedos (\\overline{{p}V}≲ 0.10), while disrupted asteroids with family associations belong to families that contain asteroids that span wider ranges of taxonomic types and average reported albedos (0.06composition (i.e., whether an object is likely to contain ice), while disrupted asteroid activity is not as sensitive to composition. Given our results, we describe a sequence of processes by which the formation of young asteroid families could lead to the production of present-day MBCs.

  3. Preliminary Examination of Particles Recovered from the Surface of the Asteroid Itokawa by the Hayabusa Mission (United States)

    Tsuchiyama, A.; Ebihara, M.; Kimura, M.; Kitajima, F.; Kotsugi, M.; Ito, S.; Nagao, K.; Nakamura, T.; Naraoka, H.; Noguchi, T.; hide


    The Hayabusa spacecraft arrived at S-type Asteroid 25143 Itokawa in November 2006, and reveal astounding features of the small asteroid (535 x 294 x 209 m). Near-infrared spectral shape indicates that the surface of this body has an olivinerich mineral assemblage potentially similar to that of LL5 or LL6 chondrites with different degrees of space weathering. Based on the surface morphological features observed in high-resolution images of Itokawa s surface, two major types of boulders were distinguished: rounded and angular boulders. Rounded boulders seem to be breccias, while angular boulders seem to have severe impact origin. Although the sample collection did not be made by normal operations, it was considered that some amount of samples, probably small particles of regolith, was collected from MUSES-C regio on the Itokawa s surface. The sample capsule was successfully recovered on the earth on June 13, 2010, and was opened at curation facility of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Sagamihara, Japan. A large number of small particles were found in the sample container. Preliminary analysis with SEM/EDX at the curation facility showed that at least more than 1500 grains were identified as rocky particles, and most of them were judged to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa. Minerals (olivine, low-Ca pyroxene, high-Ca pyroxene, plagioclase, Fe sulfide, Fe-Ni metal, chromite, Ca phosphate), roughly estimated mode the minerals and rough measurement of the chemical compositions of the silicates show that these particles are roughly similar to LL chondrites. Although their size are mostly less than 10 m, some larger particles of about 100 m or larger were also identified. A part of the sample (probably several tens particles) will be selected by Hayabusa sample curation team and examined preliminary in Japan within one year after the sample recovery in prior to detailed analysis phase. Hayabusa Asteroidal Sample Preliminary

  4. Adaptation of G-TAG Software for Validating Touch-and-Go Comet Surface Sampling Design Methodology (United States)

    Mandic, Milan; Acikmese, Behcet; Blackmore, Lars


    The G-TAG software tool was developed under the R&TD on Integrated Autonomous Guidance, Navigation, and Control for Comet Sample Return, and represents a novel, multi-body dynamics simulation software tool for studying TAG sampling. The G-TAG multi-body simulation tool provides a simulation environment in which a Touch-and-Go (TAG) sampling event can be extensively tested. TAG sampling requires the spacecraft to descend to the surface, contact the surface with a sampling collection device, and then to ascend to a safe altitude. The TAG event lasts only a few seconds but is mission-critical with potentially high risk. Consequently, there is a need for the TAG event to be well characterized and studied by simulation and analysis in order for the proposal teams to converge on a reliable spacecraft design. This adaptation of the G-TAG tool was developed to support the Comet Odyssey proposal effort, and is specifically focused to address comet sample return missions. In this application, the spacecraft descends to and samples from the surface of a comet. Performance of the spacecraft during TAG is assessed based on survivability and sample collection performance. For the adaptation of the G-TAG simulation tool to comet scenarios, models are developed that accurately describe the properties of the spacecraft, approach trajectories, and descent velocities, as well as the models of the external forces and torques acting on the spacecraft. The adapted models of the spacecraft, descent profiles, and external sampling forces/torques were more sophisticated and customized for comets than those available in the basic G-TAG simulation tool. Scenarios implemented include the study of variations in requirements, spacecraft design (size, locations, etc. of the spacecraft components), and the environment (surface properties, slope, disturbances, etc.). The simulations, along with their visual representations using G-View, contributed to the Comet Odyssey New Frontiers proposal

  5. Comet 169P/NEAT(=2002 EX12): The Parent Body of the α-Capricornid Meteoroid Stream (United States)

    Kasuga, Toshihiro; Balam, David D.; Wiegert, Paul A.


    The Jupiter-family comet 169P/NEAT (previously known as asteroid 2002 EX12) has a dynamical association with the α-Capricornid meteoroid stream. In this paper, we present photometric observations of comet 169P/NEAT to further investigate the physical characters of its disintegration state related to the stream. The comet shows a point-like surface brightness profile limiting contamination due to coma emission to ~4% at most, indicating no evidence of outgassing. An upper limit on the fraction of the surface that could be sublimating water ice of disintegration of the parent at every return.

  6. Thermal inertia as an indicator of rockiness variegation on near-Earth asteroid surfaces (United States)

    Ali-Lagoa, Victor; Delbo, Marco; Hanus, Josef


    Determining key physical properties of asteroids such as sizes and albedos or reflectance spectra is crucial to understand their origins and the processes that they have undergone during their evolution. In particular, one of the aims of NEOShield-2 project, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, is to physically characterize small near Earth asteroids (NEA) in an effort to determine effective mitigation strategies in case of impact with our planet [Harris et al. 2013 2013AcAau,90,80H].We performed thermophysical modelling of NEAs, such as (1685) Toro, and potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), such as (33342) 1998 WT24. In addition to size, thermophysical models (TPM) of asteroids can constrain the surface thermal inertia, which is related to the material composition and physical nature, namely its "rockiness" or typical size of the particles on its surface. These have observable effects on the surface temperature distribution as a function of time and thus on the thermal infrared fluxes we observe, to which we can fit our model.In the case of WT24, its thermal inertia has been previously constrained to be in the range 100-300 SI units [Harris et al. 2007, Icarus 188, 414H]. But this was based on a spherical shape model approximation since no shape model was available by the time. Such a low thermal inertia value seems in disagreement with a relatively high metal content of the enstatite chondrites, the meteorite type to which WT24, classified as an E-type [Lazzarin et al. 2004 A&A 425L, 25L], has been spectrally associated. Using a three-dimensional model and spin vector based on radar observations [Busch et al. 2008 Icarus 197, 375B], our TPM produces a higher best-fitting value of the thermal inertia. We also find the intriguing possibility that the hemisphere of WT24 dominated by concave terrains, possibly be the result of an impact crater, has a higher thermal inertia. This would be similar to the case of our Moon

  7. How do the surfaces of comets evolve with time?: Insights from Rosetta's two-year journey with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (United States)

    Elmaarry, M. R.; Groussin, O.; Thomas, N.; Pajola, M.; Auger, A. T.; Davidsson, B. J. R.; Hu, X.; Hviid, S. F.; Joerg, K.; Güttler, C.; Tubiana, C.; Bodewits, D.; Fornasier, S.; Vincent, J. B.; Sierks, H.


    Prior to the Rosetta mission at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (hereinafter referred to as 67P), we had limited snapshots of comets from flyby missions: the only comet other than 67P that showed evidence of long-term or seasonal changes was comet Tempel 1 because it was visited by spacecrafts on two separate occasions. With Rosetta, it was possible to monitor the surface of a comet continuously for approximately two years with high spatial resolution, which led to the discovery of a wide variety of changes that occur on comets, and made it possible to constrain the timing and rates of these changes. Comet 67P showed a variety of changes that affected its consolidated materials such as collapsing cliffs, moving boulders, and propagating fractures, which indicate ongoing weathering and erosion on the surface. Similarly, the comet's smooth and unconsolidated materials also displayed changes. However, these changes were mainly transient or short-lived involving the development of circular features that vary in size with time, textural changes in the "dusty" mantles, and retreating scarps similar in scale to what has been previously observed at Tempel 1. The changes in the smooth terrains are more difficult to explain but appear related to insolation since most of the changes to the surface of the comet occurred at, or close to, perihelion, mainly when the comet was around 2 AU away from the Sun. While many (100s) of changes have been detected so far on the surface, they are nonetheless small-scale, and minimally affecting the overall shape or landscape of the comet. This would suggest that higher activity is likely at the earlier stages of a comet's introduction into the inner solar system when comets possibly possess a higher inventory of volatiles (particularly CO and CO2), and/or amorphous ice.

  8. Surface Properties of Asteroids from Mid-Infrared Observations and Thermophysical Modeling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mueller, Michael

    The subject of this work is the physical characterization of asteroids, focusing on the thermal inertia of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). Thermal inertia governs the Yarkovsky effect, a non-gravitational force which significantly alters the orbits of asteroids up to \\sim 20 km in diameter. Yet, very

  9. The nucleus of Comet Borrelly: A study of morphology and surface brightness (United States)

    Oberst, J.; Howington-Kraus, E.; Kirk, R.; Soderblom, L.; Buratti, B.; Hicks, M.; Nelson, R.; Britt, D.


    Stereo images obtained during the DS1 flyby were analyzed to derive a topographic model for the nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly for morphologic and photometric studies. The elongated nucleus has an overall concave shape, resembling a peanut, with the lower end tilted towards the camera. The bimodal character of surface-slopes and curvatures support the idea that the nucleus is a gravitational aggregate, consisting of two fragments in contact. Our photometric modeling suggests that topographic shading effects on Borrelly's surface are very minor (the given resolution of the terrain model. Instead, albedo effects are thought to dominate Borrelly's large variations in surface brightness. With 90% of the visible surface having single scattering albedos between 0.008 and 0.024, Borrelly is confirmed to be among the darkest of the known Solar System objects. Photometrically corrected images emphasize that the nucleus has distinct, contiguous terrains covered with either bright or dark, smooth or mottled materials. Also, mapping of the changes in surface brightness with phase angle suggests that terrain roughness at subpixel scale is not uniform over the nucleus. High surface roughness is noted in particular near the transition between the upper and lower end of the nucleus, as well as near the presumed source region of Borrelly's main jets. Borrelly's surface is complex and characterized by distinct types of materials that have different compositional and/or physical properties. ?? 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Prediction of Spiral Patterns on the Surface of Asteroid 101955 Bennu (United States)

    Kreslavsky, M. A.


    Asteroid 101955 Bennu, the target of OSIRIS-REx space mission, is known to have a "walnut" shape: close to an axially symmetric oblate shape with a sharp equatorial ridge (Nolan M. C., et al., 2013, Icarus 226, 629-640, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2013.05.028). Such a shape is usual among quickly spinning small asteroids; it is thought to be formed due to surficial transport of asteroid material toward equator under a combination of the gravitational and centrifugal forces, in other words, downhill with respect to the geopotential (e.g., Scheeres, D. J., et al., 2006, Science 314, 1280-1283, doi:10.1126/science.1133599). This is likely to occur, when a rubble-pile asteroid is spun up by the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect. The Rossby number Ro associated with the frictionless downslope movement is scaled as (T/2π)(g sinθ/L)1/2, where T the spin period, g is a characteristic value of the effective gravity (the geopotential gradient), θ is the characteristic surface slope with respect to the geopotential, and L is the characteristic scale length of the slope. Typical values for Bennu, g 6×10-5 m s-2, θ 30° (Scheeres, D.J., et al., 2016, Icarus 276, 116-140, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.04.013), and L 100 m, a part of Bennu radius, yields Ro 1.3, which means that the Coriolis force play a significant role in the downslope movement dynamics. On this basis, it is reasonable to predict that the traces left by material sliding toward equator on Bennu would form spiral patterns. Hopefully, OSIRIS-REx mission will check the prediction soon. I modeled trajectories of rolling boulders, bouncing boulders, and sliding masses assuming different friction models. For these calculations I used an idealized axially symmetric Bennu shape and semianalytical calculation of gravitational potential. I also repeated the calculation for a set of higher spin rates that may be relevant to the geologically recent past. Although the trajectory form itself is insufficient to

  11. Using Paraffin PCM, Cryogel and TEC to Maintain Comet Surface Sample Cold from Earth Approach Through Retrieval (United States)

    Choi, Michael K.


    An innovative thermal design concept to maintain comet surface samples cold (for example, 263 degrees Kelvin, 243 degrees Kelvin or 223 degrees Kelvin) from Earth approach through retrieval is presented. It uses paraffin phase change material (PCM), Cryogel insulation and thermoelectric cooler (TEC), which are commercially available.

  12. Phobos and Deimos: A Potential Comet Connection (United States)

    Lee, P.


    Phobos and Deimos are similar in size and spectrum to an exceptionally large and spectrally uncommon asteroid among near-Earth objects: 3552 Don Quixote, a D-type NEO that's a comet. The martian moons' potential link to comets is discussed.

  13. Thermal alteration in carbonaceous chondrites and implications for sublimation in rock comets (United States)

    Springmann, Alessondra; Lauretta, Dante S.; Steckloff, Jordan K.


    Rock comets are small solar system bodies in Sun-skirting orbits (perihelion q shower, is the only rock comet currently known to periodically eject dust and form a coma. Thermal fracturing or thermal decomposition of surface materials may be driving Phaethon’s cometary activity (Li & Jewitt, 2013). Phaethon-like asteroids have dynamically unstable orbits, and their perihelia can change rapidly over their ~10 Myr lifetimes (de León et al., 2010), raising the possibility that other asteroids may have been rock comets in the past. Here, we propose using spectroscopic observations of mercury (Hg) as a tracer of an asteroid’s thermal metamorphic history, and therefore as a constraint on its minimum achieved perihelion distance.B-class asteroids such as Phaethon have an initial composition similar to aqueously altered primitive meteorites such as CI- or CM-type meteorites (Clark et al., 2010). Laboratory heating experiments of ~mm sized samples of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites from 300K to 1200K at a rate of 15K/minute show mobilization and volatilization of various labile elements at temperatures that could be reached by Mercury-crossing asteroids. Samples became rapidly depleted in labile elements and, in particular, lost ~75% of their Hg content when heated from ~500-700 K, which corresponds to heliocentric distances of ~0.15-0.3 au, consistent with our thermal models. Mercury has strong emission lines in the UV (~ 185 nm) and thus its presence (or absence) relative to carbonaceous chondrite abundances would indicate if these bodies had perihelia in their dynamical histories inside of 0.15 AU, and therefore may have previously been Phaethon-like rock comets. Future space telescopes or balloon-borne observing platforms equipped with a UV spectrometer could potentially detect the presence or absence of strong ultraviolet mercury lines on rock comets or rock comet candidates.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Perlmutter, S.; Muller, R.A.


    Clustering of cosmic-ray exposure ages of H chondritic meteorites occurs at 7 {+-} 3 and 30 {+-} 6 Myr ago. There is independent evidence that comet storms have occurred at the same times, based on the fossil record of family and genus extinctions, impact craters and glass, and geomagnetic reversals. We suggest that H chondrites were formed by the impact of shower comets on asteroids. The duration of the most recent comet shower was {le} 4 Myr, in agreement with storm theory.

  15. Carboxylic acids at the surface of comet 67P/CG? (United States)

    Istiqomah, I.; Quirico, E.; Faure, A.; Theulé, P.; Poch, O.; Beck, P.; Bonal, L.; Schmitt, B.; Ciarniello, M.; Filacchione, G.; Capaccioni, F.


    A broad feature centered at 3.2 μm has been detected in the reflectance spectra of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko collected by the VIRTIS/Rosetta imaging spectrometer. This band points to the presence of semi-volatile organics, however to date no firm identification of molecular species has been done. In this study, we have focused on the experimental spectral characterization of carboxylic acids, which have been proposed as candidates for the 3.2 μm broad band. We show that simple carboxylic acids are not viable candidates, because of their thermal stability in regard to the surface temperature, and/or due the shape/size of their 3 μm band that does not fit VIRTIS spectra. We infer that if carboxyl groups are the main carrier of the 3.2 μm band, it should be present in a low mass macromolecule, along with OH groups in side chains that favor hydrogen bond. A balance ratio between OH groups and aliphatics CH2/CH3 must also be respected. Last, intimate mixtures do not fit VIRTIS data, and small spots of semi-volatiles on the surface of opaque material must be considered to account for 3.2 μm band.

  16. Meteor Showers of the Earth-crossing Asteroids (United States)

    Pulat, Babadzhanov; Gulchekhra, Kokhirova


    The results of search for meteor showers associated with the asteroids crossing the Earthfs orbit and moving on comet-like orbits are given. It was shown that among 2872 asteroids discovered till 1.01.2005 and belonging to the Apollo and Amor groups, 130 asteroids have associated meteor showers and, therefore, are the extinct cometary nuclei.

  17. Proximity Operations in Microgravity, a Robotic Solution for Maneuvering about an Asteroid Surface (United States)

    Indyk, Stephen; Scheidt, David; Moses, Kenneth; Perry, Justin; Mike, Krystal

    Asteroids remain some of the most under investigated bodies in the solar system. Addition-ally, there is a distinct lack of directly collected information. This is in part due to complex sampling and motion problems that must be overcome before more detailed missions can be formulated. The chief caveat lies in formulating a technique for precision operation in mi-crogravity. Locomotion, in addition to sample collection, involve forces significantly greater than the gravitational force keeping a robot on the surface. The design of a system that can successfully maneuver over unfamiliar surfaces void of natural anchor points is an incredible challenge. This problem was investigated at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as part of the 2009 NASA Lunar and Planetary Academy. Examining the problem through a two-dimensional robotic simulation, a swarm robotics approach was applied. In simplest form, this was comprised of three grappling robots and one sampling robot. Connected by tethers, the grappling robots traverse a plane and reposition the sampling robot through tensioning the tethers. This presentation provides information on the design of the robotic system, as well as gait analysis and future considerations for a three dimensional system.

  18. Color Variation on the Surfaces of Jupiter’s Greek and Trojan Asteroids (United States)

    Chatelain, Joseph; Trilling, David E.; Emery, Joshua P.


    The L4 and L5 Lagrange points of Jupiter are populated with thousands of known, and possibly hundreds of thousands of unknown, Greek and Trojan Asteroids. Understanding the environmental and weathering conditions experienced by these objects over their lifetimes could constrain formation models for the Solar System. In an effort to shine some light on this issue, we have collected partial, simultaneous, lightcurves in both Johnson-Cousins V and I filters for a dozen large Jupiter Trojans. We found significant signs of color variation over the surfaces of four of these objects, and more subtle signs on an additional four. The most convincing examples of variation occur on (4709) Ennomos and (4833) Meges. Such a variation in color with rotation likely implies a large surface feature such as a recent crater. That such a high fraction of observed Trojans display these signatures could imply a more active collisional history for Jupiter Trojans than previously thought. It is therefore likely that one or more of the targets for the Lucy mission will have experienced a large, relatively recent, cratering event. This may help us obtain a much more in-depth understanding of the evolutionary processes ongoing for the Jupiter Trojan populations.

  19. 3D Imaging Cubesat Lidar for Asteroid and Planetary Sciences, Phase I (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA is actively pursuing guidance and control light detection and ranging (lidar) systems for upcoming exploration missions including asteroid, comet, planet, and...

  20. Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) Program (United States)

    Helin, Eleanor F.; Pravdo, Steven H.; Rabinowitz, David L.; Lawrence, Kenneth J.


    The discoveries of near-Earth asteroids (NEA's) and comets have increased enormously over the last 10-20 years. This is a consequence in large par; of the success of programs that have systematically searched for these objects. These programs have been motivated by the relationships of NEA's to terrestrial impacts, meteorites, comets, and their relative accessibility to spacecraft missions. This paper will review the long-term Palomar Planet Crossing Asteroid Survey (PCAS) a photographic program and the current Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) system NASA's new electronic detection program. The primary goal of NEAT is to discover and inventory near-Earth asteroids and comets, collectively called near-Earth objects or NEO's, larger than 1 km in size. Details of the NEAT system and program results are presented and discussed.

  1. Measurements of Regolith Simulant Thermal Conductivity Under Asteroid and Mars Surface Conditions (United States)

    Ryan, A. J.; Christensen, P. R.


    Laboratory measurements have been necessary to interpret thermal data of planetary surfaces for decades. We present a novel radiometric laboratory method to determine temperature-dependent thermal conductivity of complex regolith simulants under rough to high vacuum and across a wide range of temperatures. This method relies on radiometric temperature measurements instead of contact measurements, eliminating the need to disturb the sample with thermal probes. We intend to determine the conductivity of grains that are up to 2 cm in diameter and to parameterize the effects of angularity, sorting, layering, composition, and eventually cementation. We present the experimental data and model results for a suite of samples that were selected to isolate and address regolith physical parameters that affect bulk conductivity. Spherical glass beads of various sizes were used to measure the effect of size frequency distribution. Spherical beads of polypropylene and well-rounded quartz sand have respectively lower and higher solid phase thermal conductivities than the glass beads and thus provide the opportunity to test the sensitivity of bulk conductivity to differences in solid phase conductivity. Gas pressure in our asteroid experimental chambers is held at 10^-6 torr, which is sufficient to negate gas thermal conduction in even our coarsest of samples. On Mars, the atmospheric pressure is such that the mean free path of the gas molecules is comparable to the pore size for many regolith particulates. Thus, subtle variations in pore size and/or atmospheric pressure can produce large changes in bulk regolith conductivity. For each sample measured in our martian environmental chamber, we repeat thermal measurement runs at multiple pressures to observe this behavior. Finally, we present conductivity measurements of angular basaltic simulant that is physically analogous to sand and gravel that may be present on Bennu. This simulant was used for OSIRIS-REx TAGSAM Sample Return

  2. Observing comets

    CERN Document Server

    James, Nick


    Since comet Shoemaker-Levy collided with the planet Jupiter with stupendous force in 1994 there has been an upsurge of amateur interest in comets Most comets are first discovered by amateur astronomers because there are so many amateurs looking for them, and techniques and instruments have improved dramatically in the past few years After a short but detailed introduction to the comets themselves Nick James and Gerald North describe comet hunting, photographing and imaging comets, and digital image processing The use of computers for orbital calculations and even helping to discover new comets is given a full chapter, as are advanced techniques including comet photometry and spectroscopy This comprehensive book has an accompanying CD-ROM and is at once a "primer" for comet hunters and a reference text for more advanced amateur astronomers

  3. 2015 Barcelona Asteroid Day

    CERN Document Server

    Gritsevich, Maria; Palme, Herbert


    This volume is a compilation of the research presented at the International Asteroid Day workshop which was celebrated at Barcelona on June 30th, 2015. The proceedings discuss the beginning of a new era in the study and exploration of the solar system’s minor bodies. International Asteroid Day commemorates the Tunguska event of June 30th, 1908. The workshop’s goal was to promote the importance of dealing proactively with impact hazards from space. Multidisciplinary experts contributed to this discussion by describing the nature of comets and asteroids along with their offspring, meteoroids. New missions to return material samples of asteroids back to Earth such as Osiris-REx and Hayabusa 2, as well as projects like AIM and DART which will test impact deflection techniques for Potentially Hazardous Asteroids encounters were also covered. The proceedings include both an outreach level to popularize impact hazards and a scientific character which covers the latest knowledge on these topics, as well as offeri...

  4. SEM and TEM Observation of the Surfaces of the Fine-Grained Particles Retrieved from the Muses-C Regio on the Asteroid 25413 Itokawa (United States)

    Noguchi, T.; Nakamura, T.; Zolensky, Michael E.; Tanaka, M.; Hashimoto, T.; Konno, M.; Nakato, A.; Ogami, T.; Fujimura, A.; Abe, M.; hide


    Surface materials on airless solar system bodies exposed to interplanetary space are gradually changed their visible to near-infrared reflectance spectra by the process called "space weathering", which makes the spectra darker and redder. Hapke et al. proposed a model of space weathering: vapor deposition of nanophase reduced iron (npFe(sup 0)) on the surfaces of the grains within the very surface of lunar regolith. This model has been proved by detailed observation of the surfaces of the lunar soil grains by transmission electron microscope (TEM). They demonstrated that npFe(sup 0) was formed by a combination of vapor deposition and irradiation effects. In other words, both micrometeorite impacts and irradiation by solar wind and galactic cosmic ray play roles on the space weathering on the Moon. Because there is a continuum of reflectance spectra from those of Q-type asteroids (almost the same as those of ordinary chondrites) to those of S-type asteroids, it is strongly suggested that reflectance spectra of asteroids composed of ordinary chondrite-like materials were modified over time to those of S-type asteroids due to space weathering. It is predicted that a small amount of npFe(sup 0) on the surface of grains in the asteroidal regolith composed of ordinary chondrite-like materials is the main agent of asteroidal space weathering.

  5. Asteroid Origins Satellite (AOSAT) I: An On-orbit Centrifuge Science Laboratory (United States)

    Lightholder, Jack; Thoesen, Andrew; Adamson, Eric; Jakubowski, Jeremy; Nallapu, Ravi; Smallwood, Sarah; Raura, Laksh; Klesh, Andrew; Asphaug, Erik; Thangavelautham, Jekan


    Exploration of asteroids, comets and small moons (small bodies) can answer fundamental questions relating to the formation of the solar system, the availability of resources, and the nature of impact hazards. Near-earth asteroids and the small moons of Mars are potential targets of human exploration. But as illustrated by recent missions, small body surface exploration remains challenging, expensive, and fraught with risk. Despite their small size, they are among the most extreme planetary environments, with low and irregular gravity, loosely bound regolith, extreme temperature variation, and the presence of electrically charged dust. Here we describe the Asteroid Origins Satellite (AOSAT-I), an on-orbit, 3U CubeSat centrifuge using a sandwich-sized bed of crushed meteorite fragments to replicate asteroid surface conditions. Demonstration of this CubeSat will provide a low-cost pathway to physical asteroid model validation, shed light on the origin and geophysics of asteroids, and constrain the design of future landers, rovers, resource extractors, and human missions. AOSAT-I will conduct scientific experiments within its payload chamber while operating in two distinct modes: (1) as a nonrotating microgravity laboratory to investigate primary accretion, and (2) as a rotating centrifuge producing artificial milligravity to simulate surface conditions on asteroids, comets and small moons. AOSAT-I takes advantage of low-cost, off-the-shelf components, modular design, and the rapid assembly and instrumentation of the CubeSat standard, to answer fundamental questions in planetary science and reduce cost and risk of future exploration.

  6. Ptolemy operations as part of the Rosetta Mission from Hibernation to the Surface of Comet 67P (United States)

    Andrews, Daniel; Morse, Andrew; Barber, Simeon; Morgan, Geraint; Sheridan, Simon; Wright, Ian


    Rosetta is a European Space Agency 'Planetary Cornerstone' mission intended to solve many of the unanswered questions surrounding the formation of the Solar System. Rosetta exited Deep Space Hibernation (DSH) on January 20th 2014, an event that started an exhilarating period of comet approach, mapping and then the eventful landings of Philae upon several locations on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Ptolemy is a miniature chemical analysis laboratory aboard the Philae lander intended to determine the chemical and stable light isotopic composition of material sourced from beneath, on and above the surface of comet 67P. The Primary Science (chemical and stable light isotopic composition) was to be returned during the First Science Sequence (FSS) via Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry of a solid cometary sample undergoing stepped pyrolysis/combustion in an oven of the Sampler, Drill and Distribution system (SD2). In addition, Ptolemy can also passively adsorb coma material onto molecular sieve within one of the SD2 sample ovens for later release and analysis, an operation known as the Comet Atmosphere Sample Experiment (CASE). A third operational mode consists of 'sniff' detections of the current spacecraft environment by directly analysing the inside of the mass spectrometer itself, which is connected to space via a vent pipe. This "Sniff Mode" is a simple, low resource mode that does not require an SD2 oven and was used during the baseline FSS to provide contextual information about the local coma. 'Sniff Mode' has been operated sixteen times since DSH, first at a comet distance of ~5,000,000 km and then twice each at ~15,000, 30, 20 and then 10 km comet centre distances. These first 9 measurements provide useful insight into the spacecraft environment and at the lower heights offer the tantalising possibility of direct comet coma detection. During the Philae landing a Sniff Mode measurement was undertaken ~9 minutes after the first Philae contact

  7. Water and Carbon Dioxide Ices-Rich Areas on Comet 67P/CG Nucleus Surface (United States)

    Filacchione, G.; Capaccioni, F.; Raponi, A.; De Sanctis, M. C.; Ciarniello, M.; Barucci, M. A.; Tosi, F.; Migliorini, A.; Capria, M. T.; Erard, S.; Bockelée-Morvan, D.; Leyrat, C.; Arnold, G.; Kappel, D.; McCord, T. B.


    fields ice grains [3]; 3) different combinations of water ice and dark terrain in intimate mixing with small grains (tens of microns) or in areal mixing with large grains (mm- sized) are seen on the eight bright areas discussed in [4]; 4) the CO2 ice in the Anhur region appears grouped in areal patches made of 50 μm sized grains [5]. While the spectroscopic identification of water and carbon dioxide ices is made by means of diagnostic infrared absorption features, their presence cause significant effects also at visible wavelengths, including the increase of the albedo and the reduction of the spectral slope which results in a more blue color [9,10]. In summary, thermodynamic conditions prevailing on the 67P/CG nucleus surface allow the presence of only H2O and CO2 ices. Similar properties are probably common among other Jupiter family comets.

  8. Asteroid impact monitoring

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Milani A.


    Full Text Available Some asteroids and comets with Earth-crossing orbit may impact our planet, thus we need to be able to identify the cases which could have a dangerous close approach within a century. This must be done as soon as such an asteroid is discovered, allowing for follow up observations which might contradict the impact possibility, and in the worst case to organize mitigation, possibly including deflection. The mathematical problem of predicting possible impacts, even with very low probabilities, has been solved by our group in the last few years. This paper presents the basic theory of these impact prediction, and discusses how they are practically used in the impact monitoring systems now operational, in particular the CLOMON2 robot of the Universities of Pisa and Valladolid.

  9. Modeling the seismic response of 2D models of asteroid 433 Eros, based on the spectral-element method. (United States)

    Blitz, Celine; Komatitsch, Dimitri; Lognonné, Philippe; Martin, Roland; Le Goff, Nicolas

    The understanding of the interior structure of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) is a fundamental issue to determine their evolution and origin, and also, to design possible mitigation techniques (Walker and Huebner, 2004). Indeed, if an oncoming Potentially Hazardous Object (PHO) were to threaten the Earth, numerous methods are suggested to prevent it from colliding our planet. Such mitigation techniques may involve nuclear explosives on or below the object surface, impact by a projectile, or concentration of solar energy using giant mirrors (Holsapple, 2004). The energy needed in such mitigation techniques highly depends on the porosity of the hazardous threatening object (asteroid or comet), as suggested by Holsapple, 2004. Thus, for a given source, the seismic response of a coherent homogeneous asteroid should be very different from the seismic response of a fractured or rubble-pile asteroid. To assess this hypothesis, we performed numerical simulations of wave propagation in different interior models of the Near Earth Asteroid 433 Eros. The simulations of wave propagation required a shape model of asteroid Eros, kindly provided by A. Cheng and O. Barnouin-Jha (personal communication). A cross-section along the longest axis has been chosen to define our 2D geometrical model, and we study two models of the interior: a homogeneous one, and a complex one characterized by fault networks below the main crosscut craters, and covered by a regolith layer of thickness ranging from 50 m to 150 m. To perform the numerical simulations we use the spectral-element method, which solves the variational weak form of the seismic wave equation (Komatitsch and Tromp, 1999) on the meshes of the 2D models of asteroid Eros. The homogeneous model is composed of an elastic material characterized by a pressure wave velocity Vp = 3000 m.s-1 , a shear wave velocity Vs = 1700 m.s-1 and a density of 2700 kg.m-3 . The fractured model possesses the same characteristics except for the presence of

  10. The Impact and Oxidation Survival of Selected Meteoritic Compounds: Signatures of Asteroid Organic Material on Planetary Surfaces (United States)

    Cooper, George; Horz, Fred; Oleary, Alanna; Chang, Sherwood


    Polar, non-volatile organic compounds may be present on the surfaces (or near surfaces) of multiple Solar System bodies. If found, by current or future missions, it would be desirable to determine the origin(s) of such compounds, e.g., asteroidal or in situ. To test the possible survival of meteoritic compounds both during impacts with planetary surfaces and under subsequent (possibly) harsh ambient conditions, we subjected known meteoritic compounds to relatively high impact-shock pressures and/or to varying oxidizing/corrosive conditions. Tested compounds include sulfonic and phosphonic acids (S&P), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) amino acids, keto acids, dicarboxylic acids, deoxy sugar acids, and hydroxy tricarboxylic acids (Table 1). Meteoritic sulfonic acids were found to be relatively abundant in the Murchison meteorite and to possess unusual S-33 isotope anomalies (non mass-dependent isotope fractionations). Combined with distinctive C-S and C-P bonds, the S&P are potential signatures of asteroidal organic material.

  11. Mine Planning for Asteroid Orebodies (United States)

    Gertsch, L. S.; Gertsch, R. E.


    Given that an asteroid (or comet) has been determined to contain sufficient material of value to be potentially economic to exploit, a mining method must be selected and implemented. This paper discusses the engineering necessary to bring a mine online, and the opportunities and challenges inherent in asteroid mineral prospects. The very important step of orebody characterization is discussed elsewhere. The mining methods discussed here are based on enclosing the asteroid within a bag in some fashion, whether completely or partially. In general, asteroid mining methods based on bags will consist of the following steps. Not all will be required in every case, nor necessarily in this particular sequence. Some steps will be performed simultaneously. Their purpose is to extract the valuable material from the body of the asteroid in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. In approximate order of initiation, if not of conclusion, the steps are: 1. Tether anchoring to the asteroid. 2. Asteroid motion control. 3. Body/fragment restraint system placement. 4. Operations platform construction. 5. Bag construction. 6. Auxiliary and support equipment placement. 7. Mining operations. 8. Processing operations. 9. Product transport to markets.

  12. Spectral properties of near-Earth asteroids on cometary orbits (United States)

    Popescu, M.; Vaduvescu, O.; de Leon, J.; Boaca, I. L.; Gherase, R. M.; Nedelcu, D. A.; INT students, I. N. G.


    We studied the spectral distributions of near-Earth asteroids on cometary orbits (NEACOs) in order to identify potential dormant or extinct comets among these objects. We present the spectral observations for 19 NEACOs obtained with Isaac Newton Telescope and Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). Although initially classified as asteroid, one of our targets - 2007 VA85 was confirmed to be active comet 333P/LINEAR on its 2016 appearance. We found that the NEACOs population is a mixing of different compositional classes.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Haghighipour, N. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96825 (United States); Maindl, T. I.; Dvorak, R. [Department of Astrophysics, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, A-1180 Vienna (Austria); Schäfer, C. [Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 10, D-72076 Tübingen (Germany); Speith, R., E-mail: [Physikalisches Institut, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 14, D-72076 Tübingen (Germany)


    It has been suggested that the comet-like activity of main belt comets (MBCs) is due to the sublimation of sub-surface water–ice that has been exposed as a result of their surfaces being impacted by meter-sized bodies. We have examined the viability of this scenario by simulating impacts between meter-sized and kilometer-sized objects using a smooth particle hydrodynamics approach. Simulations have been carried out for different values of the impact velocity and impact angle, as well as different target material and water-mass fractions. Results indicate that for the range of impact velocities corresponding to those in the asteroid belt, the depth of an impact crater is slightly larger than 10 m, suggesting that if the activation of MBCs is due to the sublimation of sub-surface water–ice, this ice has to exist no deeper than a few meters from the surface. Results also show that ice exposure occurs in the bottom and on the interior surface of impact craters, as well as on the surface of the target where some of the ejected icy inclusions are re-accreted. While our results demonstrate that the impact scenario is indeed a viable mechanism to expose ice and trigger the activity of MBCs, they also indicate that the activity of the current MBCs is likely due to ice sublimation from multiple impact sites and/or the water contents of these objects (and other asteroids in the outer asteroid belt) is larger than the 5% that is traditionally considered in models of terrestrial planet formation, providing more ice for sublimation. We present the details of our simulations and discuss their results and implications.

  14. Mercury's Weather-Beaten Surface: Understanding Mercury in the Context of Lunar and Asteroid Space Weathering Studies (United States)

    Dominque, Deborah L.; Chapman, Clark R.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Zurbuchen, Thomas H.; Gilbert, Jason A.; Sarantos, Menelaos; Benna, Mehdi; Slavin, James A.; Orlando, Thomas M.; Schriver, David; hide


    Understanding the composition of Mercury's crust is key to comprehending the formation of the planet. The regolith, derived from the crustal bedrock, has been altered via a set of space weathering processes. These processes are the same set of mechanisms that work to form Mercury's exosphere, and are moderated by the local space environment and the presence of an intrinsic planetary magnetic field. The alterations need to be understood in order to determine the initial crustal compositions. The complex interrelationships between Mercury's exospheric processes, the space environment, and surface composition are examined and reviewed. The processes are examined in the context of our understanding of these same processes on the lunar and asteroid regoliths. Keywords: Mercury (planet) Space weathering Surface processes Exosphere Surface composition Space environment 3

  15. Significantly high polarization degree of the very low-albedo asteroid (152679) 1998 KU2 (United States)

    Kuroda, Daisuke; Ishiguro, Masateru; Watanabe, Makoto; Hasegawa, Sunao; Sekiguchi, Tomohiko; Naito, Hiroyuki; Usui, Fumihiko; Imai, Masataka; Sato, Mitsuteru; Kuramoto, Kiyoshi


    We present a unique and significant polarimetric result regarding the near-Earth asteroid (152679) 1998 KU2, which has a very low geometric albedo. From our observations, we find that the linear polarization degrees of 1998 KU2 are 44.6 ± 0.5% in the RC band and 44.0 ± 0.6% in the V band at a solar phase angle of 81.0°. These values are the highest of any known airless body in the solar system (i.e., high-polarization comets, asteroids, and planetary satellites) at similar phase angles. This polarimetric observation is not only the first for primitive asteroids at large phase angles, but also for low-albedo (Based on spectroscopic similarities and polarimetric measurements of materials that have been sorted by size in previous studies, we conjecture that 1998 KU2 has a highly microporous regolith structure comprising nano-sized carbon grains on the surface.

  16. Spectral investigation of two asteroidal fireballs

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Borovička, Jiří


    Roč. 97, 3-4 (2006), s. 279-293 ISSN 0167-9295. [Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2005. Búzios, 07.08.2005-12.08.2005] R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/05/0543; GA ČR GA205/03/1404 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroids * meteors * spectroscopy Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 0.252, year: 2006

  17. What the physical properties of near-Earth asteroids tell us about sources of their origin? (United States)

    Lupishko, D. F.; di Martino, M.; Lupishko, T. A.


    It is generally recognized that main-belt asteroids (MBAs) and nuclei of extinct comets are two main sources for the near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) replenishment. Theoretical studies of NEA dynamics and numerical modelling of their orbital motions showed that so-called resonance mechanism for supplying NEAs is quite sufficient to sustain this population. The physical properties of NEAs and MBAs (and partly of comet nuclei) were compared to understand what the physical properties of NEAs can tell us about sources of their origin. The results of the comparison are given in this paper. The principal results of such a comparative analysis can be reduced to the following. All the NEAs have the small sizes, almost the same variety of their taxonomic classes and mineralogy, predominance of differentiated assemblages among them, approximately similar shape and rotation, optical properties and surface structure as compared to those of MBAs. All these conclusions clearly indicate that the main asteroid belt is the principal source of NEA, and comet nuclei contribution to the total NEA population does not exceed 10%. The NEAs 2100 Ra-Shalom, 2101 Adonis, 2201 Oljato, 2212 Hephaistos, 3200 Phaethon, 3552 Don Quixote and 4015 Wilson-Harrington are the most probable candidates for the cometary origin.

  18. A brief visit from a red and extremely elongated interstellar asteroid. (United States)

    Meech, Karen J; Weryk, Robert; Micheli, Marco; Kleyna, Jan T; Hainaut, Olivier R; Jedicke, Robert; Wainscoat, Richard J; Chambers, Kenneth C; Keane, Jacqueline V; Petric, Andreea; Denneau, Larry; Magnier, Eugene; Berger, Travis; Huber, Mark E; Flewelling, Heather; Waters, Chris; Schunova-Lilly, Eva; Chastel, Serge


    None of the approximately 750,000 known asteroids and comets in the Solar System is thought to have originated outside it, despite models of the formation of planetary systems suggesting that orbital migration of giant planets ejects a large fraction of the original planetesimals into interstellar space. The high predicted number density of icy interstellar objects (2.4 × 10 -4 per cubic astronomical unit) suggests that some should have been detected, yet hitherto none has been seen. Many decades of asteroid and comet characterization have yielded formation models that explain the mass distribution, chemical abundances and planetary configuration of the Solar System today, but there has been no way of telling whether the Solar System is typical of planetary systems. Here we report observations and analysis of the object 1I/2017 U1 ('Oumuamua) that demonstrate its extrasolar trajectory, and that thus enable comparisons to be made between material from another planetary system and from our own. Our observations during the brief visit by the object to the inner Solar System reveal it to be asteroidal, with no hint of cometary activity despite an approach within 0.25 astronomical units of the Sun. Spectroscopic measurements show that the surface of the object is spectrally red, consistent with comets or organic-rich asteroids that reside within the Solar System. Light-curve observations indicate that the object has an extremely oblong shape, with a length about ten times its width, and a mean radius of about 102 metres assuming an albedo of 0.04. No known objects in the Solar System have such extreme dimensions. The presence of 'Oumuamua in the Solar System suggests that previous estimates of the number density of interstellar objects, based on the assumption that all such objects were cometary, were pessimistically low. Planned upgrades to contemporary asteroid survey instruments and improved data processing techniques are likely to result in the detection of

  19. Earth-approaching asteroids: Populations, origin, and compositional types (United States)

    Shoemaker, E. M.; Helin, E. F.


    Origin, physical properties, and discovery history of smaller asteroids are reviewed. They appear to link the main belt objects, namely the comets and meteorites. Physical observations suggest that a wide variety of compositional types are represented among the near-earth asteroids; the apparent rarity of carbonaceous objects is stated.

  20. The Discovery of Cometary Activity in Near-Earth Asteroid Don Quixote

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mommert, Michael; Hora, Joseph L.; Harris, Alan W.; Reach, William T.; Emery, Joshua P.; Thomas, Cristina A.; Mueller, Michael; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Trilling, David E.; Delbo, Marco; Smith, Howard A.


    The near-Earth object (NEO) population, which mainly consists of fragments from collisions between asteroids in the main asteroid belt, is thought to include contributions from short-period comets as well. One of the most promising NEO candidates for a cometary origin is near-Earth asteroid (3552)

  1. Update on an Interstellar Asteroid (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    Whats the news coming from the research world on the interstellar asteroid visitor, asteroid 1I/Oumuamua? Read on for an update from a few of the latest studies.What is Oumuamua?In lateOctober2017, the discovery of minor planet 1I/Oumuamua was announced. This body which researchers first labeled asa comet and later revised to an asteroid had just zipped around the Sun and was already in the process of speeding away whenwe trained our telescopes on it. Its trajectory, however, marked it as being a visitor from outside our solar system: the first knownvisitorof its kind.Since Oumuamuasdiscovery, scientists have been gathering as many observations of this bodyas possible before it vanishes into the distance. Simultaneously, theorists have leapt at the opportunity to explain its presence and the implications its passage has on our understanding of our surroundings. Here we present just a few of the latest studies that have been published on this first detected interstellar asteroid including several timelystudies published in our new journal, Research Notes of the AAS.The galactic velocity of Oumuamua does not coincide with any of the nearest stars to us. [Mamajek 2018]Where Did Oumuamua Come From?Are we sure Oumuamua didnt originate in our solar system andget scattered into a weird orbit? Jason Wright (The Pennsylvania State University) demonstrates via a series of calculations that no known solar system body could have scattered Oumuamua onto its current orbit nor could any stillunknown object bound to our solar system.Eric Mamajek (Caltech and University of Rochester) showsthat thekinematics of Oumuamua areconsistent with what we might expect of interstellar field objects, though he argues that its kinematics suggest its unlikely to have originated from many of the neareststellar systems.What AreOumuamuas Properties?Oumuamuas light curve. [Bannister et al. 2017]A team of University of Maryland scientists led by Matthew Knight captured a light curve of Oumuamua using

  2. Dust evolution, a global view: III. Core/mantle grains, organic nano-globules, comets and surface chemistry. (United States)

    Jones, A P


    Within the framework of The Heterogeneous dust Evolution Model for Interstellar Solids (THEMIS), this work explores the surface processes and chemistry relating to core/mantle interstellar and cometary grain structures and their influence on the nature of these fascinating particles. It appears that a realistic consideration of the nature and chemical reactivity of interstellar grain surfaces could self-consistently and within a coherent framework explain: the anomalous oxygen depletion, the nature of the CO dark gas, the formation of 'polar ice' mantles, the red wing on the 3 μm water ice band, the basis for the O-rich chemistry observed in hot cores, the origin of organic nano-globules and the 3.2 μm 'carbonyl' absorption band observed in comet reflectance spectra. It is proposed that the reaction of gas phase species with carbonaceous a-C(:H) grain surfaces in the interstellar medium, in particular the incorporation of atomic oxygen into grain surfaces in epoxide functional groups, is the key to explaining these observations. Thus, the chemistry of cosmic dust is much more intimately related with that of the interstellar gas than has previously been considered. The current models for interstellar gas and dust chemistry will therefore most likely need to be fundamentally modified to include these new grain surface processes.

  3. Mercury's Weather-Beaten Surface: Understanding Mercury in the Context of Lunar and Asteroidal Space Weathering Studies (United States)

    Domingue, Deborah L.; Chapman, Clark. R.; Killen, Rosemary M.; Zurbuchen, Thomas H.; Gilbert, Jason A.; Sarantos, Menelaos; Benna, Mehdi; Slavin, James A.; Schriver, David; Travnicek, Pavel M.; hide


    Mercury's regolith, derived from the crustal bedrock, has been altered by a set of space weathering processes. Before we can interpret crustal composition, it is necessary to understand the nature of these surface alterations. The processes that space weather the surface are the same as those that form Mercury's exosphere (micrometeoroid flux and solar wind interactions) and are moderated by the local space environment and the presence of a global magnetic field. To comprehend how space weathering acts on Mercury's regolith, an understanding is needed of how contributing processes act as an interactive system. As no direct information (e.g., from returned samples) is available about how the system of space weathering affects Mercury's regolith, we use as a basis for comparison the current understanding of these same processes on lunar and asteroidal regoliths as well as laboratory simulations. These comparisons suggest that Mercury's regolith is overturned more frequently (though the characteristic surface time for a grain is unknown even relative to the lunar case), more than an order of magnitude more melt and vapor per unit time and unit area is produced by impact processes than on the Moon (creating a higher glass content via grain coatings and agglutinates), the degree of surface irradiation is comparable to or greater than that on the Moon, and photon irradiation is up to an order of magnitude greater (creating amorphous grain rims, chemically reducing the upper layers of grains to produce nanometer scale particles of metallic iron, and depleting surface grains in volatile elements and alkali metals). The processes that chemically reduce the surface and produce nanometer-scale particles on Mercury are suggested to be more effective than similar processes on the Moon. Estimated abundances of nanometer-scale particles can account for Mercury's dark surface relative to that of the Moon without requiring macroscopic grains of opaque minerals. The presence of

  4. Search for Active Main-Belt Asteroids: The SAMBA Project (United States)

    Hsieh, H. H.; Jewitt, D.


    We are conducting a deep optical survey of selected main-belt asteroids in search of comet-like behavior (comae or dust trails) like that observed for apparent Themis-family asteroid 7968 Elst-Pizarro (also 133P/Elst-Pizarro, hereafter EP). The surprising find of comet-like dust emission by EP (Hsieh, Jewitt, and Fernández, 2004, AJ 127, 2997) can be explained if (1) EP is a comet that has somehow evolved onto an asteroidal orbit, perhaps via the influence of cometary outgassing, or (2) EP is a native member of the asteroid belt on which preserved ice has recently become exposed. If EP is indeed an icy asteroid and not a lost comet, we would not expect uniqueness. A search for objects exhibiting comet-like behavior in the main belt, particularly among the Themis family among which EP itself resides, could reveal other icy bodies. We will present preliminary results (including activity level limits) for over 100 Themis family asteroids imaged as part of just such a search that we are currently conducting using telescopes on Mauna Kea and Cerro Tololo.

  5. Spitzer identification of potentially active Near-Earth Asteroids (United States)

    Mommert, Michael; Trilling, David; Hora, Joseph; Smith, Howard; Chesley, Steve; Emery, Josh; Farnocchia, Davide; Fazio, Giovanni; Harris, Alan; Mueller, Migo


    The separation between asteroids and comets has become less clear with the discovery of a small group of asteroids that display comet-like activity. While the activity is attributed to different mechanisms, some objects seem to activate close to the Sun. Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) come close to the Earth and the Sun, constituting a natural laboratory for the study of thermally induced activity. Two NEA sub-populations are especially suspected of being potentially active: dormant comets and near-Sun asteroids. We propose 12.4 hrs of Spitzer IRAC observations of 3 near-Sun asteroids and one dormant comet (3552) Don Quixote, about which we have already published. Our goals are (1) to search for activity in Don Quixote, which showed CO/CO2 activity during its previous apparition and (2) to search for activity and measure the diameters and albedos of the near-Sun asteroids. In combination with a funded ground-based observing program, our results will provide significant legacy value to the investigation of activity in near-Earth asteroids.

  6. Ptolemy operations at the surface of a comet, from planning to reality (United States)

    Morse, A. D.; Andrews, D. J.; Morgan, G. H.; Sheridan, S.; Barber, S. J.; Wright, I. P.


    Ptolemy is a Gas Chromatograph-Isotope Ratio-Mass Spectrometer (GC-IR-MS) aboard the Philae lander element of the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Developed to determine the chemical and stable light isotopic composition of cometary material, Ptolemy was conceived as a highly flexible instrument able to accommodate changes in operational functionality via software modification. This was considered essential to allow for different modes of operation not only in response to rapid/unexpected changes and opportunities, but also to longer-term shifts in priorities as the overall mission plan (and indeed cometary science in general) changed during the decades from initial concept to landing. Against the backdrop of events of the Philae landing, this paper describes the methods of instrument operation and rational behind them used to achieve the Ptolemy scientific results during the period 12-14th November 2014. In particular we demonstrate the importance of a flexible modular approach to the instrument architecture enabling complex instrument operations, especially in a situation where the environment of exploration is effectively unknown and some of the engineering solutions were being tested in the field for the first time.

  7. Migration of Interplanetary Dust and Comets (United States)

    Ipatov, S. I.; Mather, J. C.

    Our studies of migration of interplanetary dust and comets were based on the results of integration of the orbital evolution of 15,000 dust particles and 30,000 Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) [1-3]. For asteroidal and cometary particles, the values of the ratio β between the radiation pressure force and the gravitational force varied from 1000 and 1 microns. The probability of a collision of a dust particle started from an asteroid or JFC with the Earth during a lifetime of the particle was maximum at diameter d ˜100 microns. For particles started from asteroids and comet 10P, this maximum probability was ˜0.01. Different studies of migration of dust particles and small bodies testify that the fraction of cometary dust particles of the overall dust population inside Saturn's orbit is considerable and can be dominant: (1) Cometary dust particles produced both inside and outside Jupiter's orbit are needed to explain the observed constant number density of dust particles at 3-18 AU. The number density of migrating trans-Neptunian particles near Jupiter's orbit is smaller by a factor of several than that beyond Saturn's orbit. Only a small fraction of asteroidal particles can get outside Jupiter's orbit. (2) Some (less than 0.1%) JFCs can reach typical near-Earth object orbits and remain there for millions of years. Dynamical lifetimes of most of the former JFCs that have typical near-Earth object orbits are about 106 -109 yr, so during most of these times they were extinct comets. Such former comets could disintegrate and produce a lot of mini-comets and dust. (3) Comparison of the velocities of zodiacal dust particles (velocities of MgI line) based on the distributions of particles over their orbital elements obtained in our runs [3-4] with the velocities obtained at the WHAM observations shows that only asteroidal dust particles cannot explain these observations, and particles produced by comets, including high-eccentricity comets, are needed for such explanation

  8. ESA Unveils Its New Comet Chaser. (United States)


    October 2007 before heading away from the Sun towards Comet Wirtanen. As it bounces around the Solar System, Rosetta will also make two excursions into the main asteroid belt, where it will obtain the first close-up images and information on two contrasting objects, 4979 Otawara and 140 Siwa. Scientists believe Otawara is less than 20 km across, whereas Siwa is probably 110 km in diameter, much larger than any asteroid which has so far been visited by spacecraft. Rosetta will fly to within 1,000 km of Otawara in July 2006, followed by a similar rendezvous with Siwa two years later. However, the most difficult phase of the mission will be the final rendezvous with the fast-moving comet (the foreseen date for the rendezvous manoeuvre is 27 November 2011, close approach is set for 20 May 2012 and orbit insertion around the nucleus is set for 28 May 2012). Thus, after a 5.3 billion km space odyssey, Rosetta will make first contact with Wirtanen about 675 million km from the Sun. At this distance, sunlight is 20 times weaker than on Earth, and the comet's nucleus will still be frozen and inactive. Once the navigation team are able to determine the comet's exact location from images returned by the spacecraft camera, a series of braking manoeuvres will allow Rosetta to match speed and direction with its target. After about seven months of edging closer, Rosetta will eventually close to within 2 km of Wirtanen's frozen nucleus. From its close orbit above the tiny nucleus, Rosetta will be able to send back the most detailed images and information ever obtained of a comet. When a suitable landing site has been chosen, about a month after global mapping starts, the orbiter will release a 100 kg lander onto the comet's solid surface. Touchdown must be quite slow - less than one metre per second - to allow for the almost negligible gravitational pull of the tiny nucleus. In order to ensure that the lander does not bounce and disappear into space, an anchoring harpoon will be fired

  9. Asteroid Colors and their Variability (United States)

    Jurić, M.; Ivezic, Z.; Lupton, R. H.; Szabo, G. M.; Quinn, T.; SDSS Collaboration


    While orbital dynamics of asteroids has been studied in great detail, we are just beginning to get a better grasp of their physical properties. Recently, SDSS has reinvigorated the research of asteroid color properties by producing a large volume of accurate color and variability data, to about 3 magnitudes fainter completeness limit than available before. To date, SDSS has observed over 200,000 moving objects in five photometric bands, a 2.5 orders of magnitude increase over previous multicolor surveys. About 43,000 of those have been associated with previously known asteroids that have well determined orbital elements. The resulting catalog (``SDSSMOC'') can be downloaded from We will highlight some results enabled by SDSSMOC, such as the measurement of the main-belt asteroid size distribution to a significantly smaller size limit (<1 km) than possible before, a confirmation of the existence of a strong overall color gradient through the asteroid belt, and a demonstration that the colors of asteroids correlate with their dynamical family membership. We will also discuss the color variability of asteroids, interpreted as evidence for inhomogeneous albedo distribution over an asteroid's surface (``spottiness''), and the recent discovery of a color-age correlation which provides a direct evidence for space weathering, and offers a method to date asteroids using their SDSS colors.

  10. Asteroid electrostatic instrumentation and modelling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Aplin, K L; Bowles, N E; Urbak, E [Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH (United Kingdom); Keane, D; Sawyer, E C, E-mail: [RAL Space, R25, Harwell Oxford, Didcot OX11 0QX (United Kingdom)


    Asteroid surface material is expected to become photoelectrically charged, and is likely to be transported through electrostatic levitation. Understanding any movement of the surface material is relevant to proposed space missions to return samples to Earth for detailed isotopic analysis. Motivated by preparations for the Marco Polo sample return mission, we present electrostatic modelling for a real asteroid, Itokawa, for which detailed shape information is available, and verify that charging effects are likely to be significant at the terminator and at the edges of shadow regions for the Marco Polo baseline asteroid, 1999JU3. We also describe the Asteroid Charge Experiment electric field instrumentation intended for Marco Polo. Finally, we find that the differing asteroid and spacecraft potentials on landing could perturb sample collection for the short landing time of 20min that is currently planned.

  11. The Asteroid Impact Mission (United States)

    Carnelli, Ian; Galvez, Andres; Mellab, Karim


    The Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) is a small and innovative mission of opportunity, currently under study at ESA, intending to demonstrate new technologies for future deep-space missions while addressing planetary defense objectives and performing for the first time detailed investigations of a binary asteroid system. It leverages on a unique opportunity provided by asteroid 65803 Didymos, set for an Earth close-encounter in October 2022, to achieve a fast mission return in only two years after launch in October/November 2020. AIM is also ESA's contribution to an international cooperation between ESA and NASA called Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA), consisting of two mission elements: the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the AIM rendezvous spacecraft. The primary goals of AIDA are to test our ability to perform a spacecraft impact on a near-Earth asteroid and to measure and characterize the deflection caused by the impact. The two mission components of AIDA, DART and AIM, are each independently valuable but when combined they provide a greatly increased scientific return. The DART hypervelocity impact on the secondary asteroid will alter the binary orbit period, which will also be measured by means of lightcurves observations from Earth-based telescopes. AIM instead will perform before and after detailed characterization shedding light on the dependence of the momentum transfer on the asteroid's bulk density, porosity, surface and internal properties. AIM will gather data describing the fragmentation and restructuring processes as well as the ejection of material, and relate them to parameters that can only be available from ground-based observations. Collisional events are of great importance in the formation and evolution of planetary systems, own Solar System and planetary rings. The AIDA scenario will provide a unique opportunity to observe a collision event directly in space, and simultaneously from ground-based optical and

  12. AIDA: Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (United States)

    Cheng, A. F.; Galvez, A.; Carnelli, I.; Michel, P.; Rivkin, A.; Reed, C.


    To protect the Earth from a hazardous asteroid impact, various mitigation methods have been proposed, including deflection of the asteroid by a spacecraft impact. AIDA, consisting of two mission elements, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and the Asteroid Impact Monitoring (AIM) mission, is a demonstration of asteroid deflection. To date, there has been no such demonstration, and there is major uncertainty in the result of a spacecraft impact onto an asteroid, that is, the amount of deflection produced by a given momentum input from the impact. This uncertainty is in part due to unknown physical properties of the asteroid surface, such as porosity and strength, and in part due to poorly understood impact physics such that the momentum carried off by ejecta is highly uncertain. A first mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection would not only be a major step towards gaining the capability to mitigate an asteroid hazard, but in addition it would return unique information on an asteroid's strength, other surface properties, and internal structure. This information return would be highly relevant to future human exploration of asteroids. We report initial results of the AIDA joint mission concept study undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and ESA with support from NASA centers including Goddard, Johnson and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For AIDA, the DART spacecraft impactor study is coordinated with an ESA study of the AIM mission, which would rendezvous with the same asteroid to measure effects of the impact. Unlike the previous Don Quijote mission study performed by ESA in 2005-2007, DART envisions an impactor spacecraft to intercept the secondary member of a binary near-Earth asteroid. DART includes ground-based observations to measure the deflection independently of the rendezvous spacecraft observations from AIM, which also measures deflection and provides detailed characterization of the target asteroid. The joint mission AIDA

  13. Rosetta - a comet ride to solve planetary mysteries (United States)


    be kept in hibernation during most of its 8-year trek towards Wirtanen. What makes Rosetta's cruise so long? To reach Comet Wirtanen, the spacecraft needs to go out in deep space as far from the Sun as Jupiter is. No launcher could possibly get Rosetta there directly. ESA's spacecraft will gather speed from gravitational ‘kicks’ provided by three planetary fly-bys: one of Mars in 2005 and two of Earth in 2005 and 2007. During the trip, Rosetta will also visit two asteroids, Otawara (in 2006) and Siwa (in 2008). During these encounters, scientists will switch on Rosetta's instruments for calibration and scientific studies. Long trips in deep space include many hazards, such as extreme changes in temperature. Rosetta will leave the benign environment of near-Earth space to the dark, frigid regions beyond the asteroid belt. To manage these thermal loads, experts have done very tough pre-launch tests to study Rosetta's endurance. For example, they have heated its external surfaces to more than 150°C, then quickly cooled it to -180°C in the next test. The spacecraft will be fully reactivated prior to the comet rendezvous manoeuvre in 2011. Then, Rosetta will orbit the comet - an object only 1.2 km wide - while it cruises through the inner Solar System at 135 000 kilometres per hour. At that time of the rendezvous - around 675 million km from the Sun - Wirtanen will hardly show any surface activity. It means that the carachteristic coma (the comet’s ‘atmosphere’) and the tail will not be formed yet, because of the large distance from the Sun. The comet's tail is in fact made of dust grains and frozen gases from the comet's surface that vapourise because of the Sun's heat. During 6-month, Rosetta will extensively map the comet surface, prior to selecting a landing site. In July 2012, the lander will self-eject from the spacecraft from a height of just one kilometre. Touchdown will take place at walking speed - less than 1 metre per second. Immediately after

  14. On the Origins of Earth-Approaching Asteroids (United States)

    Lupishko, D. F.; Lupishko, T. A.


    It is generally accepted that Main-Belt asteroids (MBAs) and nuclei of no longer active comets are the sources that replenish the Amor, Apollo, and Aten groups of asteroids, i.e., Earth-approaching asteroids (EAAs). Investigations of the dynamics of EAAs and numerical modeling of their orbital motion have shown that the so-called resonance mechanism of the replenishment of the EAA population with objects from the Main Belt is quite sufficient for its maintenance. In this paper, we compare the physical properties of EAAs and MBAs (and, partly, cometary nuclei) in an effort to gain an understanding of whether the physical properties of EAAs can tell us anything about their origins. The principal result of the performed analysis is the conclusion that the small dimensions of EAAs; their MBA-identical set of taxonomic classes; the identical mineralogy and preponderance of differentiated compositions among EAAs; and their, on average, MBA-identical shape, rotation, optical properties, and surface structure are all convincing proof that the Main Belt is the dominant source of the replenishment of the EAA population and that the share of cometary-origin EAAs does not exceed 10%. The most likely candidates for cometary-origin objects among EAAs are 2100 Ra-Shalom, 2101 Adonis, 2201 Oljato, 2212 Hephaistos, 3200 Phaethon, 3552 Don Quixote, and 4015 Wilson-Harrington.

  15. Comparison of comet 81P/Wild 2 dust with interplanetary dust from comets. (United States)

    Ishii, Hope A; Bradley, John P; Dai, Zu Rong; Chi, Miaofang; Kearsley, Anton T; Burchell, Mark J; Browning, Nigel D; Molster, Frank


    The Stardust mission returned the first sample of a known outer solar system body, comet 81P/Wild 2, to Earth. The sample was expected to resemble chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles because many, and possibly all, such particles are derived from comets. Here, we report that the most abundant and most recognizable silicate materials in chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles appear to be absent from the returned sample, indicating that indigenous outer nebula material is probably rare in 81P/Wild 2. Instead, the sample resembles chondritic meteorites from the asteroid belt, composed mostly of inner solar nebula materials. This surprising finding emphasizes the petrogenetic continuum between comets and asteroids and elevates the astrophysical importance of stratospheric chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles as a precious source of the most cosmically primitive astromaterials.

  16. Whence comets? (United States)

    A'Hearn, Michael F


    Recent advances in cometary science have indicated the importance of mixing of materials in the disk where the planets of our solar system formed. Now, the results from the Stardust Discovery Mission unambiguously show that even more extensive and earlier mixing of the material took place, raising new challenges for theories of the protoplanetary disk and the formation of comets.

  17. Anatomy of an Asteroid Breakup (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    A team of scientists has observed the breakup of an asteroid as it orbits the Sun. In a new study, they reveal what theyve learned from their ground- and space-based observations of this disintegration.These Hubble images show the fragments of R3 in higher resolution over the span of October 2013 to February 2014. [Jewitt et al. 2017]Observations of DisintegrationActive asteroids are objects that move on asteroid-like orbits while displaying comet-like behavior. The cause of their activity can vary ranging from outgassing as the asteroid heats up in its solar approach, to expelled debris from a collision, to the entire asteroid flying apart because its spinning too fast.Led by David Jewitt (University of California at Los Angeles), a team of scientists has analyzed observations of the disintegrating asteroid P/2013 R3. The observations span two years and were made by a number of telescopes, including Hubble, Keck (in Hawaii), Magellan (in Chile), and the Very Large Telescope (in Chile).A schematic diagram of the different fragments of R3 and how they relate to each other. Black numbers estimate the fragment separation velocities; red numbers estimate the separation date. [Jewitt et al. 2017]Jewitt and collaborators then used these observations and a bit of modeling to understand what asteroid R3 was like originally, what its pieces are doing now, and what caused it to break up.Cause of the BreakupThe team found that P/2013 R3 broke up into at least 13 pieces, the biggest of which was likely no more than 100-200 meters in size. The original asteroid was probably less than 400 m in radius.By measuring the velocities of the fragments in the various observations, Jewitt and collaborators were able to work backward to determine when each piece broke off. They found that the fragmentation process was spread out over the span of roughly 5 months suggesting that the asteroids breakup wasnt impact-related (otherwise the fragmentation would likely have been all at once

  18. I. T. - R. O. C. K. S. Comet Nuclei Sample Return Mission (United States)

    Dalcher, N.


    Ices, organics and minerals recording the chemical evolution of the outer regions of the early solar nebula are the main constituents of comets. Because comets maintain the nearly pristine nature of the cloud where they formed, the analyses of their composition, structure, thermodynamics and isotope ratios will increase our understanding of the processes that occurred in the early phases of the solar system as well as the Interstellar Medium (ISM) Cloud that predated the formation of the solar nebula [1]. While the deep impact mission aimed at determining the internal structure of comet Temple1's nuclei [e.g. 3], the stardust mission sample return has dramatically increased our understanding of comets. Its first implications indicated that some of the comet material originated in the inner solar system and was later transported outward beyond the freezing line [4]. A wide range of organic compounds identified within different grains of the aerogel collectors has demonstrated the heterogeneity in their assemblages [5]. This suggests either many histories associated with these material or possibly analytical constraints imposed by capture heating of Wild2 material in silica aerogel. The current mission ROSETTA, will further expand our knowledge about comets considerably through rigorous in situ analyses of a Jupiter Family Comet (JFC). As the next generation of comet research post ROSETTA, we present the comet nuclei sample return mission IT - ROCKS (International Team - Return Of Comet's Key Samples) to return several minimally altered samples from various locations of comet 88P/Howell, a typical JFC. The mission scenario includes remote sensing of the comet's nucleus with onboard instruments similar to the ROSETTA instruments [6, 7, 8] (VIS, IR, Thermal IR, X-Ray, Radar) and gas/dust composition measurements including a plasma science package. Additionally two microprobes [9] will further investigate the physical properties of the comet's surface. Retrieving of the

  19. Tumbling asteroids

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pravec, Petr; Harris, A. W.; Scheirich, Peter; Kušnirák, Peter; Kotková, Lenka; Hergenrother, C.; Mottola, S.; Hicks, M. D.; Masi, G.; Krugly, Yu. N.; Shevchenko, V. G.; Nolan, M. C.; Howell, E. S.; Kaasalainen, M.; Galád, Adrián; Brown, P.; DeGraff, D. R.; Lambert, J.V.; Cooney, W.R.; Foglia, S.


    Roč. 1, č. 173 (2005), s. 108-131 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAA3003204 Keywords : near-Earth objects * fast-rotating asteroids Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.244, year: 2005

  20. E-type asteroid (2867) Steins as imaged by OSIRIS on board Rosetta. (United States)

    Keller, H U; Barbieri, C; Koschny, D; Lamy, P; Rickman, H; Rodrigo, R; Sierks, H; A'Hearn, M F; Angrilli, F; Barucci, M A; Bertaux, J-L; Cremonese, G; Da Deppo, V; Davidsson, B; De Cecco, M; Debei, S; Fornasier, S; Fulle, M; Groussin, O; Gutierrez, P J; Hviid, S F; Ip, W-H; Jorda, L; Knollenberg, J; Kramm, J R; Kührt, E; Küppers, M; Lara, L-M; Lazzarin, M; Lopez Moreno, J; Marzari, F; Michalik, H; Naletto, G; Sabau, L; Thomas, N; Wenzel, K-P; Bertini, I; Besse, S; Ferri, F; Kaasalainen, M; Lowry, S; Marchi, S; Mottola, S; Sabolo, W; Schröder, S E; Spjuth, S; Vernazza, P


    The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission encountered the main-belt asteroid (2867) Steins while on its way to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Images taken with the OSIRIS (optical, spectroscopic, and infrared remote( )imaging system) cameras on board Rosetta show that Steins is an oblate body with an effective spherical diameter of 5.3 kilometers. Its surface does not show color variations. The morphology of Steins is dominated by linear faults and a large 2.1-kilometer-diameter crater near its south pole. Crater counts reveal a distinct lack of small craters. Steins is not solid rock but a rubble pile and has a conical appearance that is probably the result of reshaping due to Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) spin-up. The OSIRIS images constitute direct evidence for the YORP effect on a main-belt asteroid.

  1. The physical characteristics of surface Earth-like planets, dwarf and small (asteroids) planets, and their companions, according to distance studies (United States)

    Vidmachenko, A. P.; Morozhenko, O. V.


    The history of exploration and cosmogony of Solar System bodies, the current state of the planetary cosmogony, the process of formation planets and their satellites; the features of the internal structure of terrestrial planets and of the Moon, magnetic fields of the terrestrial planets, satellites and asteroids; the general question of forming of diffusely reflected radiation of rough surfaces, lighting conditions, the parameters of reflected radiation fields (photometric, polarization and thermal properties), radar observations was considered. Given the main results of the study of the Moon, Earth-like planets (Mars, Mercury, Venus) dwarf and small (asteroids) planets Publication is targeted for teachers of higher educational institutions, students and graduate students and specialists who specialize in the study of physical methods, experimental physics and solar system bodies

  2. Project RAMA: Reconstructing Asteroids Into Mechanical Automata (United States)

    Dunn, Jason; Fagin, Max; Snyder, Michael; Joyce, Eric


    Many interesting ideas have been conceived for building space-based infrastructure in cislunar space. From O'Neill's space colonies, to solar power satellite farms, and even prospecting retrieved near earth asteroids. In all the scenarios, one thing remained fixed - the need for space resources at the outpost. To satisfy this need, O'Neill suggested an electromagnetic railgun to deliver resources from the lunar surface, while NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission called for a solar electric tug to deliver asteroid materials from interplanetary space. At Made In Space, we propose an entirely new concept. One which is scalable, cost effective, and ensures that the abundant material wealth of the inner solar system becomes readily available to humankind in a nearly automated fashion. We propose the RAMA architecture, which turns asteroids into self-contained spacecraft capable of moving themselves back to cislunar space. The RAMA architecture is just as capable of transporting conventional-sized asteroids on the 10-meter length scale as transporting asteroids 100 meters or larger, making it the most versatile asteroid retrieval architecture in terms of retrieved-mass capability. This report describes the results of the Phase I study funded by the NASA NIAC program for Made In Space to establish the concept feasibility of using space manufacturing to convert asteroids into autonomous, mechanical spacecraft. Project RAMA, Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata, is designed to leverage the future advances of additive manufacturing (AM), in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and in-situ manufacturing (ISM) to realize enormous efficiencies in repeated asteroid redirect missions. A team of engineers at Made In Space performed the study work with consultation from the asteroid mining industry, academia, and NASA. Previous studies for asteroid retrieval have been constrained to studying only asteroids that are both large enough to be discovered, and small enough to be

  3. Dust bands in the asteroid belt

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sykes, M.V.; Greenberg, R.; Dermott, S.F.; Nicholson, P.D.; Burns, J.A.


    This paper describes the original IRAS observations leading to the discovery of the three dust bands in the asteroid belt and the analysis of data. Special attention is given to an analytical model of the dust band torus and to theories concerning the origin of the dust bands, with special attention given to the collisional equilibrium (asteroid family), the nonequilibrium (random collision), and the comet hypotheses of dust-band origin. It is noted that neither the equilibrium nor nonequilibrium models, as currently formulated, present a complete picture of the IRAS dust-band observations. 32 refs

  4. Comet radar explorer (United States)

    Farnham, Tony; Asphaug, Erik; Barucci, Antonella; Belton, Mike; Bockelee-Morvan, Dominique; Brownlee, Donald; Capria, Maria Teresa; Carter, Lynn; Chesley, Steve; Farnham, Tony; Gaskell, Robert; Gim, Young; Heggy, Essam; Herique, Alain; Klaasen, Ken; Kofman, Wlodek; Kreslavsky, Misha; Lisse, Casey; Orosei, Roberto; Plaut, Jeff; Scheeres, Dan

    The Comet Radar Explorer (CORE) is designed to perform a comprehensive and detailed exploration of the interior, surface, and inner coma structures of a scientifically impor-tant Jupiter family comet. These structures will be used to investigate the origins of cometary nuclei, their physical and geological evolution, and the mechanisms driving their spectacular activity. CORE is a high heritage spacecraft, injected by solar electric propulsion into orbit around a comet. It is capable of coherent deep radar imaging at decameter wavelengths, high resolution stereo color imaging, and near-IR imaging spectroscopy. Its primary objective is to obtain a high-resolution map of the interior structure of a comet nucleus at a resolution of ¿100 elements across the diameter. This structure shall be related to the surface geology and morphology, and to the structural details of the coma proximal to the nucleus. This is an ideal complement to the science from recent comet missions, providing insight into how comets work. Knowing the structure of the interior of a comet-what's inside-and how cometary activity works, is required before we can understand the requirements for a cryogenic sample return mission. But more than that, CORE is fundamental to understanding the origin of comets and their evolution in time. The mission is made feasible at low cost by the use of now-standard MARSIS-SHARAD reflec-tion radar imaging hardware and data processing, together with proven flight heritage of solar electric propulsion. Radar flight heritage has been demonstrated by the MARSIS radar on Mars Express (Picardi et al., Science 2005; Plaut et al., Science 2007), the SHARAD radar onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Seu et al., JGR 2007), and the LRS radar onboard Kaguya (Ono et al, EPS 2007). These instruments have discovered detailed subsurface structure to depths of several kilometers in a variety of terrains on Mars and the Moon. A reflection radar deployed in orbit about a comet

  5. Deep Interior: The first comprehensive geophysical investigation of an asteroid (United States)

    Asphaug, E.; Belton, M.; Klaasen, K.; McFadden, L.; Ostro, S.; Safaeinili, A.; Scheeres, D.; Sunshine, J.; Yeomans, D.

    Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) come closer to Earth than any other celestial body, and their compositions are represented on Earth by thousands of well-studied meteorites. Yet we understand neither their origin, evolution, nor their geophysical behavior. These secrets are locked up in their unexplored interiors. Goal 1 of the NASA Strategic Plan emphasizes the requirement to catalogue and understand NEOs down to 1 km diameter. Goal 4 urges us to understand natural processes at work in the low gravity environment. Goal 5 expresses the need to explore the solar system and to learn how planets originated and evolved. In response to the NASA Strategic Plan we are proposing a NASA Discovery mission whose primary science objective is to greatly advance the realization of these Goals by conducting the first investigation of the global geophysics of an asteroid. Radio reflection data from 5 km orbit about a 1 km NEO will provide a tomographic 3D image of electromagnetic properties. Mechanical properties will be examined in the simplest possible way, using explosions to initiate seismic cratering events and to expose diverse interior units for spectroscopic analysis. Deep Interior is the lowest-risk, lowest cost path towards attaining the required characterization of NEOs. It breaks new ground for future missions to asteroids and comets and facilitates the design of reliable NEO technologies. Our science goals are as follows, and the techniques (radio science, imaging, IR spectroscopy, active surface science) will be described at this meeting: Asteroid Interiors. Radio, gravity, and seismology experiments give a complete first picture of an asteroid's deep interior, resolving inclusions, voids and unit boundaries at ˜ 30 m scales, and determining global and regional mechanical properties. Surface Geophysics. Blast experiments explore the structure and mechanics of the upper meters, demonstrate microgravity cratering, trigger natural geomorphic events, and expose subsurface

  6. Asteroid surface archaeology: Identification of eroded impact structures by spectral properties on (4) Vesta (United States)

    Hoffmann, M.; Nathues, A.; Schäfer, M.; Schmedemann, N.; Vincent, J.; Russell, C.


    Introduction: Vesta's surface material is characterized as a deep regolith [1,2], mobilized by countless impacts. The almost catastrophic impact near Vesta's south pole, which has created the Rheasilvia basin, and the partly overlapping older impact of similar size, Veneneia, have not only reshaped the areas of their interior (roughly 50 % of the Vesta surface), but also emplaced each time a huge ejecta blanket of similar size, thus covering the whole remaining surface. In this context, pristine and even younger morphologic features have been erased. However, the spectral signatures of the early differentiation and alteration products by impacts have partially remained in situ. While near the north pole several large old eroded impact features are visible, the equatorial zone close to the basin rims seems to be void of those. Since it is unlikely, that this zone has been entirely avoided by large projectiles, in this area the results of such impacts may have left morphologically not detectable remnants: Individual distribution of particle sizes and altered photometric properties, excavated layers, shock metamorphism, melt generation inside particles and on macroscopic scales, and emplacement of exogenous projectile material. An analysis by color ratio images and spatial profiles of diagnostic spectral parameters reveals such features. Results: Based on local spectroscopic evidence we have detected eroded impact features of three categories: 1) Small craters with diameters of a few kilometers, 2) Large craters or, if even larger, incipient impact basins, 3) Sub-global ejecta blankets. The eastern part of Feralia Planitia, diameter 140 km, has little evidence of a round outline in the shape model, but it features spectral gradients towards its center. A feature of similar size, centered north of Lucaria Tholus becomes only visible by a similar spectra gradient and a circular outline in specific spectral ratio mosaics. These features seem to be related to the

  7. System Concept for Remote Measurement of Asteroid Molecular Composition (United States)

    Hughes, G. B.; Lubin, P. M.; Zhang, Q.; Brashears, T.; Cohen, A. N.; Madajian, J.


    We propose a method for probing the molecular composition of cold solar system targets (asteroids, comets, planets, moons) from a distant vantage, such as from a spacecraft orbiting the object. A directed energy beam is focused on the target. With sufficient flux, the spot temperature rises rapidly, and evaporation of surface materials occurs. The melted spot creates a high-temperature blackbody source, and ejected material creates a plume of surface materials in front of the spot. Molecular and atomic absorption of the blackbody radiation occurs within the ejected plume. Bulk composition of the surface material is investigated by using a spectrometer to view the heated spot through the ejected material. Our proposed method differs from technologies such as Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), which atomizes and ionizes materials in the target; scattered ions emit characteristic radiation, and the LIBS detector performs atomic composition analysis by observing emission spectra. Standoff distance for LIBS is limited by the strength of characteristic emission, and distances greater than 10 m are problematic. Our proposed method detects atomic and molecular absorption spectra in the plume; standoff distance is limited by the size of heated spot, and the plume opacity; distances on the order of tens of kilometers are immediately feasible. Simulations have been developed for laser heating of a rocky target, with concomitant evaporation. Evaporation rates lead to determination of plume density and opacity. Absorption profiles for selected materials are estimated from plume properties. Initial simulations of absorption profiles with laser heating show great promise for molecular composition analysis from tens of kilometers distance. This paper explores the feasibility a hypothetical mission that seeks to perform surface molecular composition analysis of a near-earth asteroid while the craft orbits the asteroid. Such a system has compelling potential benefit for

  8. The COMET-L3 experiment on long-term melt. Concrete interaction and cooling by surface flooding

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Alsmeyer, H.; Cron, T.; Fluhrer, B.; Messemer, G.; Miassoedov, A.; Schmidt-Stiefel, S.; Wenz, T.


    The COMET-L3 experiment considers the long-term situation of corium/concrete interaction in an anticipated core melt accident of a light-water-reactor, after the metal melt is layered beneath the oxide melt. The experimental focus is on cavity formation in the basemat and the risk of long term basemat penetration. The experiment investigates the two-dimensional concrete erosion in a cylindrical crucible fabricated from siliceous concrete in the first phase of the test, and the influence of surface flooding in the second phase. Decay heating in the two-component metal and oxide melt is simulated by sustained induction heating of the metal phase that is overlaid by the oxide melt. The inner diameter of the concrete crucible was 60 cm, the initial mass of the melt was 425 kg steel and 211 kg oxide at 1665 C, resulting in a melt height of 450 mm. The net power to the metal melt was about 220 kW from 0 s to 1880 s, when the maximum erosion limit of the crucible was reached and heating was terminated. In the initial phase of the test (less than 100 s), the overheated, highly agitated metal melt causes intense interaction with the concrete, which leads to fast decrease of the initial melt overheat and reduction of the initially high concrete erosion rate. Thereafter, under quasistationary conditions until about 800 s, the erosion by the metal melt slows down to some 0.07 mm/s into the axial direction. Lateral erosion is a factor 3 smaller. Video observation of the melt surface shows an agitated melt with ongoing gas release from the decomposing concrete. Several periods of more intense gas release, gas driven splashing, and release of crusts from the concrete interface indicate the existence and iterative break-up of crusts that probably form at the steel/concrete interface. Surface flooding of the melt is initiated at 800 s by a shower from the crucible head with 0.375 litre water/s. Flooding does not lead to strong melt/water interactions, and no entrapment reactions or

  9. Deep Interior Mission: Imaging the Interior of Near-Earth Asteroids Using Radio Reflection Tomography (United States)

    Safaeinili, A.; Asphaug, E.; Rodriquez, E.; Gurrola, E.; Belton, M.; Klaasen, K.; Ostro, S.; Plaut, J.; Yeomans, D.


    Near-Earth asteroids are important exploration targets since they provide clues to the evolution of the solar system. They are also of interest since they present a clear danger to Earth. Our mission objective is to image the internal structure of two NEOs using radio reflection tomography (RRT) in order to explore the record of asteroid origin and impact evolution, and to test the fundamental hypothesis that some NEOs are rubble piles rather than consolidated bodies. Our mission s RRT technique is analogous to doing a CAT scan of the asteroid from orbit. Closely sampled radar echoes are processed to yield volumetric maps of mechanical and compositional boundaries, and to measure interior material dielectric properties. The RRT instrument is a radar that operates at 5 and 15 MHz with two 30-m (tip-to-tip) dipole antennas that are used in a cross-dipole configuration. The radar transmitter and receiver electronics have heritage from JPL's MARSIS contribution to Mars Express, and the antenna is similar to systems used in IMAGE and LACE missions. The 5-MHz channel is designed to penetrate greater than 1 km of basaltic rock, and 15-MHz penetrates a few hundred meters or more. In addition to RRT volumetric imaging, we use redundant color cameras to explore the surface expressions of unit boundaries, in order to relate interior radar imaging to what is observable from spacecraft imaging and from Earth. The camera also yields stereo color imaging for geology and RRT-related compositional analysis. Gravity and high fidelity geodesy are used to explore how interior structure is expressed in shape, density, mass distribution and spin. Ion thruster propulsion is utilized by Deep Interior to enable tomographic radar mapping of multiple asteroids. Within the Discovery AO scheduling parameters we identify two targets, S-type 1999 ND43 (approximately 500 m diameter) and V-type 3908 Nyx (approximately 1 km), asteroids whose compositions bracket the diversity of solar system

  10. Asteroid Kinetic Impactor Missions (United States)

    Chesley, Steven


    Asteroid impact missions can be carried out as a relatively low-cost add-ons to most asteroid rendezvous missions and such impact experiments have tremendous potential, both scientifically and in the arena of planetary defense.The science returns from an impactor demonstration begin with the documentation of the global effects of the impact, such as changes in orbit and rotation state, the creation and dissipation of an ejecta plume and debris disk, and morphological changes across the body due to the transmission of seismic waves, which might induce landslides and toppling of boulders, etc. At a local level, an inspection of the impact crater and ejecta blanket reveals critical material strength information, as well as spectral differences between the surface and subsurface material.From the planetary defense perspective, an impact demonstration will prove humankind’s capacity to alter the orbit of a potentially threatening asteroid. This technological leap comes in two parts. First, terminal guidance systems that can deliver an impactor with small errors relative to the ~100-200 meter size of a likely impactor have yet to be demonstrated in a deep space environment. Second, the response of an asteroid to such an impact is only understood theoretically due to the potentially significant dependence on the momentum carried by escaping ejecta, which would tend to enhance the deflection by tens of percent and perhaps as much as a factor of a few. A lack of validated understanding of momentum enhancement is a significant obstacle in properly sizing a real-world impactor deflection mission.This presentation will describe the drivers for asteroid impact demonstrations and cover the range of such concepts, starting with ESA’s pioneering Don Quijote mission concept and leading to a brief description of concepts under study at the present time, including the OSIRIS-REx/ISIS, BASiX/KIX and AIM/DART (AIDA) concepts.

  11. Hummingbird Comet Nucleus Analysis Mission (United States)

    Kojiro, Daniel; Carle, Glenn C.; Lasher, Larry E.


    Hummingbird is a highly focused scientific mission, proposed to NASA s Discovery Program, designed to address the highest priority questions in cometary science-that of the chemical composition of the cometary nucleus. After rendezvous with the comet, Hummingbird would first methodically image and map the comet, then collect and analyze dust, ice and gases from the cometary atmosphere to enrich characterization of the comet and support landing site selection. Then, like its namesake, Hummingbird would carefully descend to a pre-selected surface site obtaining a high-resolution image, gather a surface material sample, acquire surface temperature and then immediately return to orbit for detailed chemical and elemental analyses followed by a high resolution post-sampling image of the site. Hummingbird s analytical laboratory contains instrumentation for a comprehensive molecular and elemental analysis of the cometary nucleus as well as an innovative surface sample acquisition device.

  12. Strategy for Ranking the Science Value of the Surface of Asteroid 101955 Bennu for Sample Site Selection for Osiris-REx (United States)

    Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Connolly, H. C., Jr.; Lauretta, D. S.


    OSRIS-REx is NASA's New Frontiers 3 sample return mission that will return at least 60 g of pristine surface material from near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu in September 2023. The scientific value of the sample increases enormously with the amount of knowledge captured about the geological context from which the sample is collected. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is highly maneuverable and capable of investigating the surface of Bennu at scales down to the sub-cm. The OSIRIS-REx instruments will characterize the overall surface geology including spectral properties, microtexture, and geochemistry of the regolith at the sampling site in exquisite detail for up to 505 days after encountering Bennu in August 2018. The mission requires at the very minimum one acceptable location on the asteroid where a touch-and-go (TAG) sample collection maneuver can be successfully per-formed. Sample site selection requires that the follow-ing maps be produced: Safety, Deliverability, Sampleability, and finally Science Value. If areas on the surface are designated as safe, navigation can fly to them, and they have ingestible regolith, then the scientific value of one site over another will guide site selection.

  13. Diatoms in comets (United States)

    Hoover, R.; Hoyle, F.; Wallis, M. K.; Wickramasinghe, N. C.


    The fossil record of the microscopic algae classified as diatoms suggests they were injected to earth at the Cretaceous boundary. Not only could diatoms remain viable in the cometary environment, but also many species might replicate in illuminated surface layers or early interior layers of cometary ice. Presumably they reached the solar system on an interstellar comet as an already-evolved assemblage of organisms. Diatoms might cause color changes to comet nuclei while their outgassing decays and revives around highly elliptical orbits. Just as for interstellar absorption, high-resolution IR observations are capable of distinguishing whether the 10-micron feature arises from siliceous diatom material or mineral silicates. The 10-30-micron band and the UV 220-nm region can also provide evidence of biological material.

  14. Comet Radar Explorer (United States)

    Asphaug, Erik; CORE Science Team


    Comet Radar Explorer (CORE) is a low cost mission that uses sounding radar to image the 3D internal structure of the nucleus of Jupiter-family comet (JFC) Tempel 2. Believed to originate in the Kuiper Belt, JFCs are among the most primitive bodies in the inner solar system. CORE operates a 5 and 15 MHz Radar Reflection Imager from close orbit about the nucleus of Tempel 2, obtaining a dense network of echoes that are used to map its interior dielectric contrasts to high resolution (ង m) and resolve the dielectric constants to  m throughout the 16x8x9 km nucleus. The resulting clear images of internal structure and composition reveal how the nucleus was formed and how it has evolved. Radiometric tracking of the spacecraft orbit results in an interior mass distribution that constrains the radar-based models of interior composition. High-resolution visible and infrared color images provide the surface and exterior boundary conditions for interior models and hypotheses. They present the geology and morphology of the nucleus surface at meter-scales, and also the time-evolving activity, structure and composition of the inner coma. By making deep connections from interior to exterior, the data CORE provides will answer fundamental questions about the earliest stages of planetesimal evolution and planet formation, and lay the foundation for a comet nucleus sample return mission. CORE is led by Prof. Erik Asphaug of the University of California, Santa Cruz and is managed by JPL. It benefits from key scientific and payload contributions by ASI and CNES. The international science team has been assembled on the basis of their key involvement in past and ongoing missions to comets, and in Mars radar missions, and for their expertise in radar data analysis.

  15. Asteroids. Prospective energy and material resources

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Badescu, Viorel (ed.) [Bucharest Polytechnic Univ. (Romania). Candida Oancea Institute


    Recent research on Prospective Energy and Material Resources on Asteroids. Carefully edited book dedicated to Asteroids prospective energy and material resources. Written by leading experts in the field. The Earth has limited material and energy resources while these resources in space are virtually unlimited. Further development of humanity will require going beyond our planet and exploring of extraterrestrial resources and sources of unlimited power. Thus far, all missions to asteroids have been motivated by scientific exploration. However, given recent advancements in various space technologies, mining asteroids for resources is becoming ever more feasible. A significant portion of asteroids value is derived from their location; the required resources do not need to be lifted at a great expense from the surface of the Earth. Resources derived from Asteroid not only can be brought back to Earth but could also be used to sustain human exploration of space and permanent settlements in space. This book investigates asteroids' prospective energy and material resources. It is a collection of topics related to asteroid exploration, and utilization. It presents past and future technologies and solutions to old problems that could become reality in our life time. The book therefore is a great source of condensed information for specialists involved in current and impending asteroid-related activities and a good starting point for space researchers, inventors, technologists and potential investors. Written for researchers, engineers, and businessmen interested in asteroids' exploration and exploitation.

  16. A brief visit from a red and extremely elongated interstellar asteroid (United States)

    Meech, Karen J.; Weryk, Robert; Micheli, Marco; Kleyna, Jan T.; Hainaut, Olivier R.; Jedicke, Robert; Wainscoat, Richard J.; Chambers, Kenneth C.; Keane, Jacqueline V.; Petric, Andreea; Denneau, Larry; Magnier, Eugene; Berger, Travis; Huber, Mark E.; Flewelling, Heather; Waters, Chris; Schunova-Lilly, Eva; Chastel, Serge


    None of the approximately 750,000 known asteroids and comets in the Solar System is thought to have originated outside it, despite models of the formation of planetary systems suggesting that orbital migration of giant planets ejects a large fraction of the original planetesimals into interstellar space. The high predicted number density of icy interstellar objects (2.4 × 10‑4 per cubic astronomical unit) suggests that some should have been detected, yet hitherto none has been seen. Many decades of asteroid and comet characterization have yielded formation models that explain the mass distribution, chemical abundances and planetary configuration of the Solar System today, but there has been no way of telling whether the Solar System is typical of planetary systems. Here we report observations and analysis of the object 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) that demonstrate its extrasolar trajectory, and that thus enable comparisons to be made between material from another planetary system and from our own. Our observations during the brief visit by the object to the inner Solar System reveal it to be asteroidal, with no hint of cometary activity despite an approach within 0.25 astronomical units of the Sun. Spectroscopic measurements show that the surface of the object is spectrally red, consistent with comets or organic-rich asteroids that reside within the Solar System. Light-curve observations indicate that the object has an extremely oblong shape, with a length about ten times its width, and a mean radius of about 102 metres assuming an albedo of 0.04. No known objects in the Solar System have such extreme dimensions. The presence of ‘Oumuamua in the Solar System suggests that previous estimates of the number density of interstellar objects, based on the assumption that all such objects were cometary, were pessimistically low. Planned upgrades to contemporary asteroid survey instruments and improved data processing techniques are likely to result in the detection

  17. Asteroids prospective energy and material resources

    CERN Document Server


    The Earth has limited material and energy resources while these resources in space are virtually unlimited. Further development of humanity will require going beyond our planet and exploring of extraterrestrial resources and sources of unlimited power.   Thus far, all missions to asteroids have been motivated by scientific exploration. However, given recent advancements in various space technologies, mining asteroids for resources is becoming ever more feasible. A significant portion of asteroids value is derived from their location; the required resources do not need to be lifted at a great expense from the surface of the Earth.   Resources derived from Asteroid not only can be brought back to Earth but could also be used to sustain human exploration of space and permanent settlements in space.   This book investigates asteroids' prospective energy and material resources. It is a collection of topics related to asteroid exploration, and utilization. It presents past and future technologies and solutions t...

  18. Investigating the Geological History of Asteroid 101955 Bennu Through Remote Sensing and Returned Sample Analyses (United States)

    Messenger, S.; Connolly, H. C., Jr.; Lauretta, D. S.; Bottke, W. F.


    The NASA New Frontiers Mission OSRIS-REx will return surface regolith samples from near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu in September 2023. This target is classified as a B-type asteroid and is spectrally similar to CI and CM chondrite meteorites [1]. The returned samples are thus expected to contain primitive ancient Solar System materials that formed in planetary, nebular, interstellar, and circumstellar environments. Laboratory studies of primitive astromaterials have yielded detailed constraints on the origins, properties, and evolutionary histories of a wide range of Solar System bodies. Yet, the parent bodies of meteorites and cosmic dust are generally unknown, genetic and evolutionary relationships among asteroids and comets are unsettled, and links between laboratory and remote observations remain tenuous. The OSIRIS-REx mission will offer the opportunity to coordinate detailed laboratory analyses of asteroidal materials with known and well characterized geological context from which the samples originated. A primary goal of the OSIRIS-REx mission will be to provide detailed constraints on the origin and geological and dynamical history of Bennu through coordinated analytical studies of the returned samples. These microanalytical studies will be placed in geological context through an extensive orbital remote sensing campaign that will characterize the global geological features and chemical diversity of Bennu. The first views of the asteroid surface and of the returned samples will undoubtedly bring remarkable surprises. However, a wealth of laboratory studies of meteorites and spacecraft encounters with primitive bodies provides a useful framework to formulate priority scientific questions and effective analytical approaches well before the samples are returned. Here we summarize our approach to unraveling the geological history of Bennu through returned sample analyses.

  19. Contact Binary Asteroids (United States)

    Rieger, Samantha


    Recent observations have found that some contact binaries are oriented such that the secondary impacts with the primary at a high inclination. This research investigates the evolution of how such contact binaries came to exist. This process begins with an asteroid pair, where the secondary lies on the Laplace plane. The Laplace plane is a plane normal to the axis about which the pole of a satellites orbit precesses, causing a near constant inclination for such an orbit. For the study of the classical Laplace plane, the secondary asteroid is in circular orbit around an oblate primary with axial tilt. This system is also orbiting the Sun. Thus, there are two perturbations on the secondarys orbit: J2 and third body Sun perturbations. The Laplace surface is defined as the group of orbits that lie on the Laplace plane at varying distances from the primary. If the secondary is very close to the primary, the inclination of the Laplace plane will be near the equator of the asteroid, while further from the primary the inclination will be similar to the asteroid-Sun plane. The secondary will lie on the Laplace plane because near the asteroid the Laplace plane is stable to large deviations in motion, causing the asteroid to come to rest in this orbit. Assuming the secondary is asymmetrical in shape and the bodys rotation is synchronous with its orbit, the secondary will experience the BYORP effect. BYORP can cause secular motion such as the semi-major axis of the secondary expanding or contracting. Assuming the secondary expands due to BYORP, the secondary will eventually reach the unstable region of the Laplace plane. The unstable region exists if the primary has an obliquity of 68.875 degrees or greater. The unstable region exists at 0.9 Laplace radius to 1.25 Laplace radius, where the Laplace radius is defined as the distance from the central body where the inclination of the Laplace plane orbit is half the obliquity. In the unstable region, the eccentricity of the orbit

  20. Jupiter approaching asteroids and their possibilities for activity

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Galád, Adrián


    Roč. 326, č. 8 (2005), s. 709-715 ISSN 0004-6337 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAA3003204 Keywords : Asteroids * comets Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 0.871, year: 2005

  1. The Geology of Comet 19/P Borrelly (United States)

    Britt, D. T.; Boice, D. C; Buratti, B. J.; Hicks, M. D.; Nelson, R. M.; Oberst, J.; Sandel, B. R.; Soderblom, L. A.; Stern, S. A.; Thomas, N.


    The Deep Space One spacecraft flew by Comet 19P/Borrelly on September 22, 2001 and returned a rich array of imagery with resolutions of up to 48 m/pixel. These images provide a window into the surface structure, processes, and geological history of a comet. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. Split Active Asteroid P/2016 J1 (PANSTARRS) (United States)

    Hui, Man-To; Jewitt, David; Du, Xinnan


    We present a photometric and astrometric study of the split active asteroid P/2016 J1 (PANSTARRS). Separation occurred either in 2012 May to June, or 2010 April, with a separation speed Vsep = 0.70 ± 0.02 m s-1 for the former scenario and 0.83 ± 0.06 m s-1 for the latter. The two fragments (hereafter J1-A and J1-B) have similar, Sun-like colors that are comparable to the colors of primitive C- and G-type asteroids. With a nominal comet-like albedo, pR = 0.04, the effective, dust-contaminated cross sections are estimated to be 2.4 km2 (J1-A) and 0.5 km2 (J1-B). We estimate that the nucleus radii lie in the range 140 ice became exposed at the surface, perhaps via a minor impact, and that sublimation torques then rapidly drove the body to breakup. Further disintegration events are anticipated owing to the rotational instability. Reference: Hui, M.-T., Jewitt, D. and Du, X., 2017. AJ, 153(4), p.141.

  3. Spectroscopic Evidence for the Asteroidal Nature of the July 2009 Jovian Impactor (United States)

    Lisse, Carey; Orton, Glenn; Yanamandra-Fisher, Padma; Fletcher, Leigh; Depater, Imke; Hammel, Heidi


    blowback and Jovian surface deposition, while asteroidal dust is heated enough to be transformed from silicates to silicas. Ancillary evidence for the asteroidal nature of the impactor arises from the singular nature of the impact site, the existence of asteroidal orbits consistent with the observed geometry (Chodas 2009, Orton et al. 2010), and the differences between the observed 2009 opacity spectra of the debris and the observed debris opacity created in July 1994 by the SL9 fragments. Nicholson et al. (1995) noted the presence of a non-gaseous component of their spectrum of the SL9 R fragment impact, which they fit with the 'astronomical silicate' of Draine (1985). Griffith et al. (1997) also required an opacity source besides NH3 gas in order to explain the spectral continuum associated with debris from the L fragment, inferring that it was most likely the result of a silicate feature similar to those in comets (Hanner et al. 1994). Both of these are consistent with increased opacity in the 10-12 μm region due to a mix of stratospheric debris consisting of olivines and pyroxenes, typically found in comets, without any additional opacity at ~9 um due to silica.

  4. Calculation methods for estimating the prospects of a space experiment by means of impact by asteroid Apophis on the Moon surface (United States)

    Ostrik, A. V.; Kazantsev, A. M.


    The problem of principal change of asteroid 99952 (Apophis) orbit is formulated. Aim of this change is the termination of asteroid motion in Solar system. Instead of the passive rescue tactics from asteroid threat, an option is proposed for using the asteroid for setting up a large-scale space experiment on the impact interaction of the asteroid with the Moon. The scientific and methodical apparatus for calculating the possibility of realization, searching and justification the scientific uses of this space experiment is considered.

  5. Comet 'Bites the Dust' Around Dead Star (United States)


    of dust. The data also demonstrate that this dust contains some of the same types of minerals found in comet Hale-Bopp. The findings tell a possible tale of solar system survival. Though the dust seen by Spitzer is likely from a comet that recently perished, its presence suggests that an icy distant ring of comets may still orbit the dead star. These data were collected by Spitzer's infrared spectrometer, an instrument that cracks light open like a geode, revealing its coveted components. In this spectrum, light from the white dwarf is on the left, at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths. The spectrum on the right, at infrared wavelengths longer than about 2 microns, shows much more light than can be explained by a white dwarf alone. The bump seen around a wavelength of 10 microns offers a clue to the source of this excess infrared light. It signifies the presence of silicate minerals, which are found in our own solar system on Earth, in sandy beaches, and in comets and asteroids. These silicate grains appear to be very small like those in comets, so astronomers favor the theory that a comet recently broke apart around the dead star.

  6. Pars plana vitrectomy for posterior surface calcification in a silicone intraocular lens in asteroid hyalosis – a report of mistaken identity?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rainsbury PG


    Full Text Available Paul G Rainsbury,1 Jonathan Lochhead2 1Eye Unit, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Portsmouth, Hants, UK; 2Eye Unit, St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight, UKMehta et al recently reported removal of dystrophic calcification on the posterior surface of a silicone intraocular lens (IOL in a patient with asteroid hyalosis.1 In this case the authors used pars plana vitrectomy (PPV to successfully remove calcified deposits. We have recently tried unsuccessfully to use PPV to treat an 86 year old patient with calcification of a silicone IOL in the presence of asteroid hyalosis. We chose to avoid IOL exchange due to a history of Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and glaucoma in the left eye, and a failed corneal graft in a rubeotic eye on the right. Our patient did not have an intact posterior capsule having been treated with Nd:YAG capsulotomy 2 years previously, before the calcification occurred.View original paper by Mehta and colleagues.

  7. Assessing the physical nature of near-Earth asteroids through their dynamical histories (United States)

    Fernández, Julio A.; Sosa, Andrea; Gallardo, Tabaré; Gutiérrez, Jorge N.


    We analyze a sample of 139 near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), defined as those that reach perihelion distances q4.8 au), having Tisserand parameters 2family comets (JFCs) in near-Earth orbits, i.e. with q4.8 au of cometary origin, but it could be even lower if the NEAs in unstable orbits listed before turn out to be bona fide asteroids from the main belt. This study strengthens the idea that NEAs and comets essentially are two distinct populations, and that periods of dormancy in comets must be rare. Most likely, active comets in near-Earth orbits go through a continuous erosion process in successive perihelion passages until disintegration into meteoritic dust and fragments of different sizes. In this scenario, 289P/Blanpain might be a near-devolatized fragment from a by now disintegrated parent comet.

  8. Geotechnical Tests on Asteroid Simulant Orgueil (United States)

    Garcia, Alexander D'marco


    through the surface of an asteroid. Most of the known asteroids are believed to be left over material during the formation of the solar system that never accreted to form planets. Asteroids can be found in several groups such as Trojan Asteroids, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and the main asteroid belt. The Trojan Asteroids orbit the 4th and 5th Lagrange points of major planets in the Solar System while the NEA's have orbits that are close to and sometimes intersect with Earths orbit and the Main Asteroid Belt which is found between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. Gravitational perturbations can alter the orbit of asteroids in the Main Asteroid Belt causing them to move closer to earth causing them to become in the NEA class.

  9. Volcanism on differentiated asteroids (Invited) (United States)

    Wilson, L.


    The Dawn spacecraft's investigation of 4 Vesta, best-preserved of the early-forming differentiated asteroids, prompts a reappraisal of factors controlling igneous activity on such bodies. Analogy with melt transfer in zones of partial melting on Earth implies that silicate melts moved efficiently within asteroid mantles in complex networks of veins and dikes, so that only a few percent of the mantle consisted of melt at any one time. Thus even in cases where large amounts of mantle melting occurred, the melts did not remain in the mantle to form "magma oceans", but instead migrated to shallow depths. The link between magma flow rate and the stresses needed to keep fractures open and allow flow fast enough to avoid excessive cooling implies that only within asteroids with radii more than ~190-250 km would continuous magma flow from mantle to surface be possible. In all smaller asteroids (including Vesta) magma must have accumulated in sills at the base of the lithosphere (the conductively controlled ~10 km thick thermal boundary layer) or in crustal magma reservoirs near its base. Magma would then have erupted intermittently to the surface from these steadily replenished reservoirs. The average rates of eruption to the surface (or shallow intrusion) should balance the magma production rate, but since magma could accumulate and erupt intermittently from these reservoirs, the instantaneous eruption rates could be hundreds to thousands of cubic m/s, comparable to historic basaltic eruption rates on Earth and very much greater than the average mantle melting rate. The absence of asteroid atmospheres makes explosive eruptions likely even if magmas are volatile-poor. On asteroids with radii less than ~100 km, gases and sub-mm pyroclastic melt droplets would have had speeds exceeding the escape speed assuming a few hundred ppm volatiles, and only cm sized or larger clasts would have been retained. On larger bodies almost all pyroclasts will have returned to the surface

  10. ASTEROID SPIN VECTORS (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This is a tabulation of 526 determinations of asteroid pole orientations, covering 104 numbered asteroids, gathered from the literature from 1932 through 1995.


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This is a compilation of published rotational parameters derived from lightcurve data for asteroids, based on the Warner et al. (2009) Asteroid Lightcurve Database....

  12. Photometric analysis of Asteroid (21) Lutetia from Rosetta-OSIRIS images (United States)

    Masoumzadeh, N.; Boehnhardt, H.; Li, Jian-Yang; Vincent, J.-B.


    We analyzed the photometric properties of Asteroid (21) Lutetia based on images captured by Rosetta during its flyby. We utilized the images recorded in the F17 filter (λ = 631.6 nm) of the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and in the F82 & F22 filters (λ = 649.2 nm) of the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the OSIRIS imaging system onboard the spacecraft. We present the results of Hapke and Minnaert modeling using disk-integrated and disk-resolved data derived from the surface of the asteroid. At 631.6 nm and 649.2 nm, the geometric albedo of Lutetia is 0.194 ± 0.002. The Bond albedo is 0.076 ± 0.002 at 649.2 nm, and 0.079 ± 0.002 at 631.6 nm. The roughness parameter is 28 ° ± 1 ° , the opposition surge parameters B0 and h are 1.79 ± 0.08 and 0.041 ± 0.003, respectively, and the asymmetry factor of the phase function is -0.28 ± 0.01. The single-scattering albedo is 0.226 ± 0.002 at 631.6 and 649.2 nm. The modeled Hapke parameters of Asteroid Lutetia are close to those of typical S-type asteroids. The Minnaert k parameter of Lutetia at opposition (0.526 ± 0.002) is comparable with other asteroids and comets. Albedo ratio images indicate no significant variation across the surface of Lutetia, apart from the so called NPCC region on Lutetia where a pronounced variation is seen at large phase angle. The small width of the albedo distribution of the surface (∼7% at half maximum) and the similarity between phase ratio maps derived from the measurements and from the modeling suggests that the light scattering property over the whole visible and illuminated surface of the asteroid is widely uniform. The comparison between the reflectance measurement of Lutetia and the available laboratory samples suggests that the regolith on Lutetia is concrete with possible grain size distribution of150 μm or larger.

  13. Encounter of a different kind: Rosetta observes asteroid at close quarters (United States)


    ESA's comet chaser, Rosetta, last night flew by a small body in the main asteroid belt, asteroid Steins, collecting a wealth of information about this rare type of minor Solar System body. At 20:58 CEST (18:58 UT) last night, ESA's Rosetta probe approached asteroid 2867 Steins, coming to within a distance of only 800 km from it. Steins is Rosetta's first nominal scientific target in its 11½ year mission to ultimately explore the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The success of this 'close' encounter was confirmed at 22:14 CEST, when ESA's ground control team at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, received initial telemetry from the spacecraft. During the flyby operations, Rosetta was out of reach as regards communication links because its antenna had to be turned away from Earth. At a distance of about 2.41 AU (360 million kilometres) from our planet, the radio signal from the probe took 20 minutes to reach the ground. Steins is a small asteroid of irregular shape with a diameter of only 4.6 km. It belongs to the rare class of E-type asteroids, which had not been directly observed by an interplanetary spacecraft before. Such asteroids are quite small in size and orbit and are mostly found in the inner part of the main asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. They probably originate from the mantle of larger asteroids destroyed in the early history of the Solar System, and are thought to be composed mainly of silicate minerals with little or no iron content. The data collected by Rosetta last night and which will be analysed over the coming days and weeks will finally unveil the true nature of Steins. Through the study of minor bodies such as asteroids, Rosetta is opening up a new window onto the early history of our Solar System. It will give us a better understanding of the origins and evolution of the planets, and also a key to better interpreting asteroid data collected from the ground. Under Rosetta's scope This

  14. Modelling asteroid brightness variations. I - Numerical methods (United States)

    Karttunen, H.


    A method for generating lightcurves of asteroid models is presented. The effects of the shape of the asteroid and the scattering law of a surface element are distinctly separable, being described by chosen functions that can easily be changed. The shape is specified by means of two functions that yield the length of the radius vector and the normal vector of the surface at a given point. The general shape must be convex, but spherical concavities producing macroscopic shadowing can also be modeled.

  15. Disintegration of comet nuclei (United States)

    Ksanfomality, Leonid V.


    The breaking up of comets into separate pieces, each with its own tail, was seen many times by astronomers of the past. The phenomenon was in sharp contrast to the idea of the eternal and unchangeable celestial firmament and was commonly believed to be an omen of impending disaster, especially for comets with tails stretching across half the sky. It is only now that we have efficient enough space exploration tools to see comet nuclei and even - in the particular case of small comet Hartley-2 in 2010 - to watch their disintegration stage. There are also other suspected candidates for disintegration in the vast family of comet nuclei and other Solar System bodies.

  16. Physics of comets

    CERN Document Server

    Krishna Swamy, K S


    The study of Comet Halley in 1986 was a tremendous success for cometary science. In March of that year, six spacecrafts passed through Comet Halley as close as 600 km from the nucleus and made the in situ measurements of various kinds. These space missions to Comet Halley and that of the ICE spacecraft to Comet Giacobini-Zinner combined with studies, both ground-based and above the atmosphere, have increased our knowledge of cometary science in a dramatic way.This new edition of Physics of Comets incorporates these new and exciting findings. The emphasis of the book is on the physical processe

  17. Planetary Defense From Space: Part 2 (Simple) Asteroid Deflection Law (United States)

    Maccone, Claudio


    A system of two space bases housing missiles for an efficient Planetary Defense of the Earth from asteroids and comets was firstly proposed by this author in 2002. It was then shown that the five Lagrangian points of the Earth Moon system lead naturally to only two unmistakable locations of these two space bases within the sphere of influence of the Earth. These locations are the two Lagrangian points L1 (in between the Earth and the Moon) and L3 (in the direction opposite to the Moon from the Earth). In fact, placing missiles based at L1 and L3 would enable the missiles to deflect the trajectory of incoming asteroids by hitting them orthogonally to their impact trajectory toward the Earth, thus maximizing the deflection at best. It was also shown that confocal conics are the only class of missile trajectories fulfilling this “best orthogonal deflection” requirement. The mathematical theory developed by the author in the years 2002 2004 was just the beginning of a more expanded research program about the Planetary Defense. In fact, while those papers developed the formal Keplerian theory of the Optimal Planetary Defense achievable from the Earth Moon Lagrangian points L1 and L3, this paper is devoted to the proof of a simple “(small) asteroid deflection law” relating directly the following variables to each other:the speed of the arriving asteroid with respect to the Earth (known from the astrometric observations);the asteroid's size and density (also supposed to be known from astronomical observations of various types);the “security radius” of the Earth, that is, the minimal sphere around the Earth outside which we must force the asteroid to fly if we want to be safe on Earth. Typically, we assume the security radius to equal about 10,000 km from the Earth center, but this number might be changed by more refined analyses, especially in the case of “rubble pile” asteroids;the distance from the Earth of the two Lagrangian points L1 and L3 where the

  18. Visually observing comets

    CERN Document Server

    Seargent, David A J


    In these days of computers and CCD cameras, visual comet observers can still contribute scientifically useful data with the help of this handy reference for use in the field. Comets are one of the principal areas for productive pro-amateur collaboration in astronomy, but finding comets requires a different approach than the observing of more predictable targets. Principally directed toward amateur astronomers who prefer visual observing or who are interested in discovering a new comet or visually monitoring the behavior of known comets, it includes all the advice needed to thrive as a comet observer. After presenting a brief overview of the nature of comets and how we came to the modern understanding of comets, this book details the various types of observations that can usefully be carried out at the eyepiece of a telescope. Subjects range from how to search for new comets to visually estimating the brightness of comets and the length and orientation of tails, in addition to what to look for in comet heads a...

  19. Asteroid/meteorite streams (United States)

    Drummond, J.

    The independent discovery of the same three streams (named alpha, beta, and gamma) among 139 Earth approaching asteroids and among 89 meteorite producing fireballs presents the possibility of matching specific meteorites to specific asteroids, or at least to asteroids in the same stream and, therefore, presumably of the same composition. Although perhaps of limited practical value, the three meteorites with known orbits are all ordinary chondrites. To identify, in general, the taxonomic type of the parent asteroid, however, would be of great scientific interest since these most abundant meteorite types cannot be unambiguously spectrally matched to an asteroid type. The H5 Pribram meteorite and asteroid 4486 (unclassified) are not part of a stream, but travel in fairly similar orbits. The LL5 Innisfree meteorite is orbitally similar to asteroid 1989DA (unclassified), and both are members of a fourth stream (delta) defined by five meteorite-dropping fireballs and this one asteroid. The H5 Lost City meteorite is orbitally similar to 1980AA (S type), which is a member of stream gamma defined by four asteroids and four fireballs. Another asteroid in this stream is classified as an S type, another is QU, and the fourth is unclassified. This stream suggests that ordinary chondrites should be associated with S (and/or Q) asteroids. Two of the known four V type asteroids belong to another stream, beta, defined by five asteroids and four meteorite-dropping (but unrecovered) fireballs, making it the most probable source of the eucrites. The final stream, alpha, defined by five asteroids and three fireballs is of unknown composition since no meteorites have been recovered and only one asteroid has an ambiguous classification of QRS. If this stream, or any other as yet undiscovered ones, were found to be composed of a more practical material (e.g., water or metalrich), then recovery of the associated meteorites would provide an opportunity for in-hand analysis of a potential


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jewitt, David, E-mail: [Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, UCLA, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 (United States)


    Most comets are volatile-rich bodies that have recently entered the inner solar system following long-term storage in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud reservoirs. These reservoirs feed several distinct, short-lived “small body” populations. Here, we present new measurements of the optical colors of cometary and comet-related bodies including long-period (Oort cloud) comets, Damocloids (probable inactive nuclei of long-period comets) and Centaurs (recent escapees from the Kuiper belt and precursors to the Jupiter family comets). We combine the new measurements with published data on short-period comets, Jovian Trojans and Kuiper belt objects to examine the color systematics of the comet-related populations. We find that the mean optical colors of the dust in short-period and long-period comets are identical within the uncertainties of measurement, as are the colors of the dust and of the underlying nuclei. These populations show no evidence for scattering by optically small particles or for compositional gradients, even at the largest distances from the Sun, and no evidence for ultrared matter. Consistent with earlier work, ultrared surfaces are common in the Kuiper belt and on the Centaurs, but not in other small body populations, suggesting that this material is hidden or destroyed upon entry to the inner solar system. The onset of activity in the Centaurs and the disappearance of the ultrared matter in this population begin at about the same perihelion distance (∼10 AU), suggesting that the two are related. Blanketing of primordial surface materials by the fallback of sub-orbital ejecta, for which we calculate a very short timescale, is the likely mechanism. The same process should operate on any mass-losing body, explaining the absence of ultrared surface material in the entire comet population.

  1. Origin of the Asteroid Belt and Mars' Small Mass (United States)

    Walsh, Kevin J.; Morbidelli, A.; Raymond, S. N.; O'Brien, D. P.; Mandell, A.


    Reproducing the small mass of Mars is a major problem for modern simulations of terrestrial planet accretion (Raymond et al. 2009). Terrestrial planet formation simulations using a planetesimal disk with an outer edge at 1.0 AU have been found to form good Mars analogs (Hansen et al. 2009). However, these initial conditions appear inconsistent with solar system evolution and the asteroid belt. Hydrodynamical simulations show that the evolution of Jupiter and Saturn in a gas-disk generically leads to a two-stage, inward-then-outward migration (Masset & Snellgrove 2001, Morbidelli & Crida 2007, Pierens & Nelson 2008). We present simulations showing that if Jupiter's minimal orbital radius was 1.5 AU, this evolution both truncates the planetesimal disk at 1.0 AU and repopulates the asteroid belt from two distinct parent populations. Our model links the origin of the inner solar system - explaining both the mass of Mars and the properties of the asteroid belt - to a realistic evolution of the giant planets. This scenario represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of the early evolution of the inner solar system. Previously S- and C-type asteroids were thought to have both originated in the 2--3 AU region, with comets forming far away beyond the giant planets. This posed problems in explaining the vast physical differences between S- and C-type asteroids, and the physical similarities between comets and C-type asteroids as shown by Stardust and micrometeorite samples (Brownlee et al. 2006, Gounelle et al. 2008). Our presented scenario finds that S-types likely formed in the 1--3 AU region, with C-types and comets forming in the outer regions of the disk. This provides a much better qualitative explanation of the observed differences and similarities. This work is part of the Helmholtz Alliances "Planetary Evolution and Life", which KJW and AM thank for financial support.

  2. Trojan Asteroid Lightcurves: Probing Internal Structure and the Origins (United States)

    Ryan, E. L.


    Studies of the small bodies of the solar system reveal important clues about the condensation and formation of planetesimal bodies, and ultimately planets in planetary systems. Dynamics of small bodies have been utilized to model giant planet migration within our solar system, colors have been used to explore compositional gradients within the protoplanetary disk, & studies of the size-frequency distribution of main belt asteroids may reveal compositional dependences on planetesimal strength limiting models of planetary growth from collisional aggregration. Studies of the optical lightcurves of asteroids also yield important information on shape and potential binarity of asteroidal bodies. The K2 mission has allowed for the unprecedented collection of Trojan asteroid lightcurves on a 30 minute cadence for baselines of 10 days, in both the L4 and L5 Trojan clouds. Preliminary results from the K2 mission suggest that Trojan asteroids have bulk densities of 1 g/cc and a binary fraction ≤ 33 percent (Ryan et al., 2017, Astronomical Journal, 153, 116), however Trojan lightcurve data is actively being collected via the continued K2 mission. We will present updated results of bulk density and binary fraction of the Trojan asteroids and compare these results to other small body populations, including Hilda asteroids, transNeptunian objects and comet nuclei to test dynamical models of the origins of these populations.

  3. Comet Halley: nucleus and jets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sagdeev, R.Z.; Avanesov, G.A.; Barinov, I.V.


    The VEGA-1 and VEGA-2 spacecrafts made their closest approach to Comet Halley on 6 and 9 March, respectively. In this paper results of the onboard imaging experiment are discussed. The nucleus of the comet was clearly identifyable as an irregularly shaped object with overall dimensions of (16+-1)x(8+-1)x(8+-1) km. The nucleus rotates around its axis which is nearly perpendicular to the orbital plane, with a period of 53+-2 hours. Its albedo is only 0.04+-002. Most of the jet features observed during the second fly-by were spatially reconstructed. These sources form a quasi-linear structure on the surface. The dust above the surface is shown to be optically thin except certain specific dust jets. Brightness features on the surface are clearly seen. Correlating the data with other measurements it is concluded that the dirty snow-ball model probably has to be revised. (author)

  4. PRIMitive Asteroids Spectroscopic Survey - PRIMASS: Current Status (United States)

    Pinilla-Alonso, Noemí; de León, Julia; Morate, David; de Prá, Mario; Lorenzi, Vania; Licandro, Javier; Campins, Humberto; Ali-Lagoa, Victor


    Primitive asteroids contain the most pristine material that gave birth to the rocky planets. Interest in spectral data from primitive asteroids that could be the source of the primitive near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) has increased in anticipation of the two sample-return missions that will reach their targets in the next four years and bring samples to the Earth within five years. Concurrently, the discovery of water ice on the surfaces of two primitive asteroids (24 Themis and 65 Cybele) placed the focus on the outer-belt (orbits with semi-major axis larger than 2.82 AU), where more asteroids could harbor water ice on, or below the surface.In 2010 we started a survey, called the PRIMitive Asteroids Spectroscopic Survey (PRIMASS), to collect spectra of primitive asteroids all through the Solar System. Up to now, PRIMASS library (PRIMASS-L) contains more than 530 spectra (0.4 - 2.5 μm) of primitive asteroids (> 90% of the asteroids had no spectroscopic data before) in the inner and outer belt. The aim of this survey is to provide the community with a comprehensive collection of data that enable us to study the surface composition of primitive asteroids by means of visible and near-infrared spectroscopy.Our plans for the close future include making PRIMASS-L publicly available in proper timing to be used by the teams of the OSIRIS-REx (NASA) and Hayabusa 2 (JAXA) missions. These missions will characterize two primitive near-Earth asteroids in detail, and the Earth-based libraries, as PRIMASS-L, will establish the broader framework and maximize the value of the spacecraft results. PRIMASS-L will also serve as a quality-check database for the Gaia spectroscopic products that will be published in its final release, by the end of the nominal mission in 2019.In parallel, we plan to continue observing at least for four more semesters (up to semester 2019A). After almost 10 years of data acquisition, the PRIMASS database will contain about 700 spectra of primitive asteroids

  5. Ammonia abundances in comets (United States)

    Wyckoff, S.; Tegler, S.; Engel, L.

    The emission band strengths of the NH2 bands of Comets Halley, Hartley-Good, Thiele, and Borrelly were measured to determine the NH2 column densities for the comets. Production rates obtained using the Haser and vectorial models are in agreement within the observational errors, suggesting that a simple two-step decay model may be used to approximate the NH2 distribution in a comet's coma. Ammonia-to-water abundance ratios from 0.01 to 0.4 percent were found for the four comets. The ratio in Comet Halley is found to be Q(NH3)/Q(H2O) = 0.002 + or - 0.001. No significant difference in the ammonia abundance was found before or after perihelion in Comet Halley.

  6. On the reflectance of dust in comets (United States)

    Zubko, Evgenij; Videen, Gorden; Shkuratov, Yuriy; Hines, Dean C.


    Reflectance of cometary dust is a key parameter used in the characterization of comets. In the literature, the reflectance of single-scattering cometary dust particles is widely assumed to be the same as that of the cometary nucleus. We discuss this assumption and demonstrate its inconsistency with photometric observations of comets, laboratory optical measurements, and numerical simulation of light scattering from single-scattering dust particles and particulate surfaces composed of the same particles. We estimate the reflectance of cometary dust particles using a comprehensive physical model of polarization measured in comets over wide range of phase angle and at different wavelengths in the visible. The model predicts that the reflectance of dust in comets inversely correlates with their maximum of positive polarization Pmax. We find that even the darkest dust particles appearing in comets with the highest Pmax, reflect considerably more incident solar-radiation energy, up to 200%, compared to what is thought for cometary nuclei. We also find that the reflectance retrieved from polarimetry in the visible appears in good quantitative accordance with previous estimations from infrared observations of comets. Our findings suggest that the dust production of comets is currently overestimated and may require revision.

  7. Discovery and characteristics of the rapidly rotating active asteroid (62412) 2000 SY178 in the main belt

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sheppard, Scott S. [Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5241 Broad Branch Road. NW, Washington, DC 20015 (United States); Trujillo, Chadwick, E-mail: [Gemini Observatory, 670 North A‘ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States)


    We report a new active asteroid in the main belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Object (62412) 2000 SY178 exhibited a tail in images collected during our survey for objects beyond the Kuiper Belt using the Dark Energy Camera on the CTIO 4 m telescope. We obtained broadband colors of 62412 at the Magellan Telescope, which, along with 62412's low albedo, suggests it is a C-type asteroid. 62412's orbital dynamics and color strongly correlate with the Hygiea family in the outer main belt, making it the first active asteroid known in this heavily populated family. We also find 62412 to have a very short rotation period of 3.33 ± 0.01 hours from a double-peaked light curve with a maximum peak-to-peak amplitude of 0.45 ± 0.01 mag. We identify 62412 as the fastest known rotator of the Hygiea family and the nearby Themis family of similar composition, which contains several known main belt comets. The activity on 62412 was seen over one year after perihelion passage in its 5.6 year orbit. 62412 has the highest perihelion and one of the most circular orbits known for any active asteroid. The observed activity is probably linked to 62412's rapid rotation, which is near the critical period for break-up. The fast spin rate may also change the shape and shift material around 62412's surface, possibly exposing buried ice. Assuming 62412 is a strengthless rubble pile, we find the density of 62412 to be around 1500 kg m{sup −3}.

  8. NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) (United States)

    Abell, Paul; Mazanek, Dan; Reeves, David; Naasz, Bo; Cichy, Benjamin


    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a robotic mission to visit a large near-Earth asteroid (NEA), collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the Moon. Once returned to cislunar space in the mid-2020s, astronauts will explore the boulder and return to Earth with samples. This Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is part of NASA’s plan to advance the technologies, capabilities, and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s. Subsequent human and robotic missions to the asteroidal material would also be facilitated by its return to cislunar space. Although ARM is primarily a capability demonstration mission (i.e., technologies and associated operations), there exist significant opportunities to advance our knowledge of small bodies in the synergistic areas of science, planetary defense, asteroidal resources and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and capability and technology demonstrations. In order to maximize the knowledge return from the mission, NASA is organizing an ARM Investigation Team, which is being preceded by the Formulation Assessment and Support Team. These teams will be comprised of scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals to help plan the implementation and execution of ARM. An overview of robotic and crewed segments of ARM, including the mission requirements, NEA targets, and mission operations, will be provided along with a discussion of the potential opportunities associated with the mission.

  9. Shaded Spacecraft Radiators to Be Used on the Daytime Surface of the Mercury Planet, the Moon, and Asteroids of the Solar System Inner Part

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V. A. Igrickii


    Full Text Available During the daytime a surface of the Moon, Mercury planet, and asteroids of the Solar system inner part, significantly heats up, and infrared radiation of the local soil becomes essential. At the same time direct solar radiation and reflected from the surface solar radiation reach the maximum too. These radiation fluxes can significantly decrease the efficiency of spacecraft radiators in the daytime. This effect is especially strong on the Mercury surface where direct solar radiation is 10 times stronger than solar radiation near the Earth. As a result, on the daytime surface of the Mercury the conventional low-temperature radiators become completely disabled.The article describes the development of the special shaded spacecraft radiators to be used in daytime on the Mercury and other atmosphereless bodies of the Solar system inner part. To solve this task are used mirror shades. The shape of these shades is developed to improve operation conditions of the spacecraft radiator through the appropriate scheme of radiation reflection. The task is discussed in 2D and 3D cases. A new design of shaded spacecraft radiators is proposed, and reasonable proportions of radiators are determined. The performance capability of proposed radiators for environments of the Mercury and the Moon is estimated using the zonal method in view of partial mirror reflection. The calculations showed that the developed shaded spacecraft radiators are capable to work on the Mercury surface as the low-temperature radiators even during the daytime. New radiators provide minimum accepted operating temperature of 241К (-32°С, meanwhile radiators of common design have minimum operating temperature of 479К (206°С. Using such radiators on the Moon enables us to increase effectiveness of spacecraft radiators and to decrease their minimum operating temperature from 270К (-3°С to 137К (-136°С.

  10. The proximities of asteroids and critical points of the distance function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Milisavljević Slaviša


    Full Text Available The proximities are important for different purposes, for example to evaluate the risk of collisions of asteroids or comets with the Solar-System planets. We describe a simple and efficient method for finding the asteroid proximities in the case of elliptical orbits with a common focus. In several examples we have compared our method with the recent excellent algebraic and polynomial solutions of Gronchi (2002, 2005.

  11. Association between meteor showers and asteroids using multivariate criteria (United States)

    Dumitru, B. A.; Birlan, M.; Popescu, M.; Nedelcu, D. A.


    Context. Meteoroid streams are fragments of matter produced by comets or asteroids which intersects the orbit of Earth. Meteor showers are produced when Earth intersects these streams of matter. The discoveries of active asteroids and extinct comets open a new view of the relation between these objects as possible parent bodies at the origin of meteor showers. Aims: The aim of this work is to identify the asteroids that can produce or re-populate meteoroid streams by determining the similarity of their orbits and orbital evolution over 10 000 yr. Methods: The identification was carried out by evaluating several well known D-criteria metrics, the orbits being taken from the IAU Meteor Data Center database and from IAU Minor Planet Center. Finally, we analyzed the physical properties and the orbital stability (in the Lyapunov time sense) of the candidates as well as their possible relationship with meteorites. Results: 206 near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) were associated as possible parent bodies with 28 meteor showers, according to at least two of the criterion used. 50 of them satisfied all the criteria. Notable finds are: binary asteroid 2000UG11 associated with Andromedids (AND), while the tumbling asteroid (4179)Toutatis could be associated with October Capricornids (OCC). Other possible good candidates are 2004TG10, 2008EY5, 2010CF55, 2010TU149 and 2014OY1. These objects have low albedo, therefore can be primitive objects. Asteroid 2007LW19 which is a fast rotator and most probably has monolithic structure and so its physical characteristic does not support the association found based on the dynamical criteria.

  12. Special Report: Chemistry of Comets. (United States)

    A'Hearn, Michael F.


    Discusses the chemistry of comets. How comets provide clues to the birth of the solar system, photolytic reactions on comets involving water, chemical modeling, nuclear chemistry, and research findings are among the areas considered. (JN)

  13. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Surface Composition as a Playground for Radiative Transfer Modeling and Laboratory Measurements: an international ISSI team (United States)

    Stephan, K.; Ciarniello, M.; Beck, P.; Filacchione, G.; Moroz, L.; Pilorget, C.; Pommerol, A.; Quirico, E.; Raponi, A.; Schröder, S.; Kappel, D.; Vinogradoff, V.; Istiqomah, I.; Rousseau, B.


    Remote sensing observations at visible-infrared (VIS-IR) wavelengths of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko performed by VIRTIS (Coradini et al., 2007) aboard the Rosetta mission have revealed a surface ubiquitously covered by low-albedo material (Capaccioni et al., 2015; Ciarniello et al., 2015), characterized by the presence of refractory and semi-volatile organics and dark opaque phases (Capaccioni et al., 2015; Quirico et al., 2016). However, a quantitative determination of the physical properties (grain size, porosity) and chemical composition of the surface regolith, from spectrophotometric analysis, is still missing. This subject will be investigated within an international team hosted by ISSI (International Space Science Institute), taking advantage of available and dedicated laboratory reflectance measurements on cometary analogue samples and radiative transfer models (Hapke, 2012; Shkuratov et al., 1999; Monte Carlo ray-tracing), applied to Rosetta spectrophotometric observations of the nucleus. The convergence between models and measurements will allow us to provide a thorough characterization of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko surface. At the same time, the comparison of theoretical predictions with results from laboratory reflectance spectroscopy on powders of analog materials give us the possibility to constrain the capability of the models to characterize their composition (endmember abundances and mixing modalities) and physical properties. We report about the state of the art of laboratory reflectance spectroscopy and spectral modeling applied to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko VIS-IR spectrum as well as preliminary results of the team activity and planned future work. Acknowledgements: the team thanks ISSI-Switzerland for the logistic and financial support.

  14. Chang'e-2 spacecraft observations of asteroid 4179 Toutatis (United States)

    Ji, Jianghui; Jiang, Yun; Zhao, Yuhui; Wang, Su; Yu, Liangliang


    On 13 December 2012, Chang'e-2 completed a successful flyby of the near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis at a closest distance of 770 meters from the asteroid's surface. The observations show that Toutatis has an irregular surface and its shape resembles a ginger-root of a smaller lobe (head) and a larger lobe (body). Such bilobate shape is indicative of a contact binary origin for Toutatis. In addition, the high-resolution images better than 3 meters provide a number of new discoveries about this asteroid, such as an 800-meter depression at the end of the large lobe, a sharply perpendicular silhouette near the neck region, boulders, indicating that Toutatis is probably a rubble-pile asteroid. Chang'e-2 observations have significantly revealed new insights into the geological features and the formation and evolution of this asteroid. In final, we brief the future Chinese asteroid mission concept.

  15. A photometric search for activity among asteroids and Centaurs (United States)

    Sosa Oyarzabal, A.; Mammana, L.; Fernández, J. A.


    We present the first results of a long-term observational campaign focused on the detection of activity in selected asteroids and centaurs. Our observational targets are near-Earth asteroids in cometary orbits (cf. [2]), the so called ''main-belt comets'' or ''active asteroids'' (well-known objects as well as potential candidates), and bright centaurs with good orbits, all close to their perihelion passages. In those objects with a former detection of activity, our aim is to contribute to a better physical knowledge of them, and determine, for instance, if the observed activity is transient or permanent. To achieve our goals, we analyzed CCD-filtered images of each observable target acquired with the 2.15-m telescope ''Jorge Sahade'' at CASLEO (San Juan, Argentina), during two runs of three consecutive nights each (during August 2013 and January 2014, respectively). Our study will be completed by future runs with the same instrumentation already assigned to our campaign. As preliminary results, we observed activity in the main-belt comets P/2013 P5 (PANSTARRS) and 133P/(7968) Elst-Pizarro. We also observed the main-belt comet (596) Scheila, which showed an unequivocally stellar appearance. We observed the main-belt comet candidate (3646) Aduatiques (cf. [1]), and noticed in this object a curious feature whose connection to some kind of activity is not well determined yet. We also observed the near-Earth asteroid in cometary orbit 2006 XL_5 (cf. [3]), and the centaurs (281371) 2008 FC_{76}, (332685) 2009 HH_{36}), (382004) 2010 RM_{64}, 2010 XZ_{78}, and 2011 UR_{402}. We have not detected activity in these objects, but an improved analysis is still in progress. %Corresponding author: Andrea Sosa (

  16. Improving the Detection of Near-Earth Asteroids (United States)


    looking. Thirty or forty years ago, stories in pulp magazines featured frontier life on dry, canal- networked Mars and swampy Venus. But in the last decade...reasons. Scientists see in asteroids a wealth of information about how the solar system formed, about compositions of planets and planetoids , comets...certain aspects of its observable features in much the same way as the stellar classification system denotes a yellow star as type G. Unfortunately, the

  17. The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) (United States)

    Abell, Paul; Gates, Michele; Johnson, Lindley; Chodas, Paul; Mazanek, Dan; Reeves, David; Ticker, Ronald


    To achieve its long-term goal of sending humans to Mars, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to proceed in a series of incrementally more complex human spaceflight missions. Today, human flight experience extends only to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), and should problems arise during a mission, the crew can return to Earth in a matter of minutes to hours. The next logical step for human spaceflight is to gain flight experience in the vicinity of the Moon. These cis-lunar missions provide a "proving ground" for the testing of systems and operations while still accommodating an emergency return path to the Earth that would last only several days. Cis-lunar mission experience will be essential for more ambitious human missions beyond the Earth-Moon system, which will require weeks, months, or even years of transit time. In addition, NASA has been given a Grand Challenge to find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them. Obtaining knowledge of asteroid physical properties combined with performing technology demonstrations for planetary defense provide much needed information to address the issue of future asteroid impacts on Earth. Hence the combined objectives of human exploration and planetary defense give a rationale for the Asteroid Re-direct Mission (ARM). Mission Description: NASA's ARM consists of two mission segments: 1) the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), the first robotic mission to visit a large (greater than ~100 m diameter) near-Earth asteroid (NEA), collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface along with regolith samples, demonstrate a planetary defense technique, and return the asteroidal material to a stable orbit around the Moon; and 2) the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM), in which astronauts will take the Orion capsule to rendezvous and dock with the robotic vehicle, conduct multiple extravehicular activities to explore the boulder, and return to Earth with samples. NASA's proposed

  18. The persistent coma of Comet P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jewitt, D.


    Time-series photometry of Comet P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 in both 1987 and 1988 shows that this comet is continually active despite its large heliocentric distance. The observed activity, upon which the famous outbursts of this comet are superposed, may be driven by the sublimation of crystalline water ice at the nucleus surface. A simple model which accounts for both the continuous activity and the sporadic outbursts is suggested. 34 refs


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Davis, M.; Hut, P.; Muller, R.A.


    A 26-Myr periodicity has recently been seen in the fossil record of extinction in the geological past. At least two of these extinctions are known to be associated with the impact on the Earth of a comet or asteroid with a diameter of a few kilometres. We propose that the periodic events are triggered by an unseen companion to the Sun, travelling in a moderately eccentric orbit, which at its closest approach (perihelion) passes through the 'Oort cloud' of comets which surrounds the Sun. During each passage this unseen solar companion perturbs the orbits of these comets, sending a large number of them (over 1 x 10{sup 9}) into paths which reach the inner Solar System. Several of these hit the Earth, on average, in the following million years. At present the unseen companion should be approximately at its maximum distance from the Sun, {approx}2.4 light yr, and it will present no danger to the Earth until approximately AD 15,000,000.

  20. Sensitivity of Asteroid Impact Risk to Uncertainty in Asteroid Properties and Entry Parameters (United States)

    Wheeler, Lorien; Mathias, Donovan; Dotson, Jessie L.; NASA Asteroid Threat Assessment Project


    A central challenge in assessing the threat posed by asteroids striking Earth is the large amount of uncertainty inherent throughout all aspects of the problem. Many asteroid properties are not well characterized and can range widely from strong, dense, monolithic irons to loosely bound, highly porous rubble piles. Even for an object of known properties, the specific entry velocity, angle, and impact location can swing the potential consequence from no damage to causing millions of casualties. Due to the extreme rarity of large asteroid strikes, there are also large uncertainties in how different types of asteroids will interact with the atmosphere during entry, how readily they may break up or ablate, and how much surface damage will be caused by the resulting airbursts or impacts.In this work, we use our Probabilistic Asteroid Impact Risk (PAIR) model to investigate the sensitivity of asteroid impact damage to uncertainties in key asteroid properties, entry parameters, or modeling assumptions. The PAIR model combines physics-based analytic models of asteroid entry and damage in a probabilistic Monte Carlo framework to assess the risk posed by a wide range of potential impacts. The model samples from uncertainty distributions of asteroid properties and entry parameters to generate millions of specific impact cases, and models the atmospheric entry and damage for each case, including blast overpressure, thermal radiation, tsunami inundation, and global effects. To assess the risk sensitivity, we alternately fix and vary the different input parameters and compare the effect on the resulting range of damage produced. The goal of these studies is to help guide future efforts in asteroid characterization and model refinement by determining which properties most significantly affect the potential risk.

  1. Asteroids mass determination

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hoffmann, M.


    Basic methods for asteroid mass determinations and their errors are discussed. New results and some current developments in the astrometric method are reviewed. New methods and techniques, such as electronic imaging, radar ranging and space probes are becoming important for asteroid mass determinations. Mass and density estimations on rotational properties and possible satelites are also discussed

  2. Impacts of asteroidal material on cometary nuclei (United States)

    Solc, M.; Stork, R.; Kozel, M.


    Impacts can bring geologically evolved asteroidal dust or lumps into cometary nuclei that consist of more primitive material. We estimate the amount of the asteroidal material captured in nucleus of some short-period comets during one revolution, during the whole lifetime of the nucleus in the inner solar system, and, finally, during the period shortly after the formation of nucleus in outer regions of the protoplanetary disk. Interplanetary dust grains registered by Galileo and Ulysses dust detectors between Venus and Jupiter together with IRAS photometry of dust in asteroidal band provided us with the basic data for estimating the dust concentration in space at various places not far from the ecliptic. Another basis was the five populations of interplanetary meteoroids proposed by Divine and the paper on influx of interplanetary bodies onto Earth compiled by Ceplecha. We attempted to model a cratering story of a typical cometary nucleus during its lifetime starting from its formation. According to numerical models of impacts into ice, the penetration depth varies from millimeters to several tens of meters. Models were computed for the size range of projectiles from 10 micron to 10 m, velocities from 10 m/s to 10 km/s, and densities from 1 to 8 g/ccm.

  3. Realm of the comets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Weissman, P.R.


    Studies of Jovian perturbations of the orbits of long-period comets led to the concept of the Oort cloud of 180 billion comets at 50,000-150,000 AU from the sun. Several comets are induced to move toward the sun every million years by the passage of a star at a distance of a few light years. The location of the cloud has since been revised to 20,000-100,000 AU, and comets are now accepted as remnant material fron the proto-solar system epoch. The galactic disk and random, close-passing stars may also cause rare, large perturbations in the orbits of the cloud comets, sending large numbers of comets through the inner solar system. The resulting cometary storm is a candidate cause for the wholesale extinction of dinosaurs in the Cretaceous-Terniary transition due to large number of planetesimals, or one large comet, striking the earth, in a short period of time. The IRAS instruments have detected similar clouds of material around other stars

  4. Asteroids: spectral reflectance and color characteristics. II

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCord, T.B.; Chapman, C.R.


    We present new spectrophotometry for 31 asteroids, and improved data for nine previously observed, raising our total sample to 98. Several important new spectral types have been found. Asteroid 349 Dembowska is the first large main-belt asteroid found to resemble ordinary chondritic meteorites in spectral properties (it is similar to LL6 chondrites in pyroxene/olivine content). The first two measured Trojan asteroids show unusual spectra not compatible with carbonaceous chondrites or other known meteorites. The spectrum of Mars-crosser 887 Alinda is compatible with unequilibrated chondrites. Most fainter asteroids (especially those in the outer half of the belt) have flat spectra indicating probable carbonaceous composition. Compositional heterogeneity of Hirayama families is common among the 16 families studied to date. But individual asteroids seem to have remarkably uniform surface compositions, indicated by the usual lack of spectral changes with rotation. Spectra of a preliminary sample of proposed meteorite source-bodies are consistent with derivation of meteorites by proposed mechanics, but further observations are needed

  5. Meteorites, Bolides and Comets: A Tale of Inconsistency (United States)

    Jakes, P.; Padevet, V.


    Inhomogeneity of cometary nuclei has been established through the observed disruptions of comets [1] and through the determination of dust particle composition during the encounter of the Vega and Giotto satellites with comet Halley [2,3,4]. The raisin bread model of cometary nuclei [5,6] assumes the presence of solid (rock) and dust particle material set in the volatile rich, ice- cemented material. Rock material may contribute to the formation of dust particles. Gombosi and Houpis [5] argued that only the composition of dust particles derived from the icy, volatile component of the comet were analyzed and implied thus that the third cometary component present (raisins/rocks) has not been examined. The compositions of the cometary (Halley) dust and the interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) are "chondritic" (Blanford et al., 1988). It is difficult, therefore to estimate the proportion of cometary to asteroid-derived dust in near Earth space, e.g., among the IDPs [7] unless other criteria are available. Bolide multistation photographic tracking allows the determination of the orbital preencounter parameters of solid bodies (0.01-100,000 kg in mass) with the Earth, and allows us to classify them according to their ablation coefficient (tau), penetration depth into the atmosphere (PE), theoretical densities (sigma), and terminal velocities (V(sub)E). Four groups are recognized (Table 1). Three of the type I bolides were recovered as ordinary chondrites (Pribram, Lost City, and Innisfree). Ceplecha [8] has shown that 38% of bolides (fireballs) come from cometary orbits (11% from highly eccentric orbits typical of new comets), but most of the bolides (62%) originate at asteroidal orbits. Seven of the 14 known meteoric showers could be attributed to known comets: N,S Taurids to 1970 P/Encke, Lyrids to 1861 I Thatcher-Beaker, Perseids to 1862 III Swift-Tuttle- Simons, Orionids to 1835 III P/Halley, Draconids to 1946 V P/Giacobini-Zinner, Leonids to 1966 I Tempel

  6. Surface optical properties of geological materials: a new look at the regolith of the Moon, Mercury and asteroids (United States)

    Souchon, Audrey; Pinet, Patrick; Chevrel, Serge; Daydou, Yves; Josset, Jean-Luc; Beauvivre, Stephane


    With the exception of the lunar samples brought back to Earth, the only way to study the surface of a planet so far remains the use of remote-sensing techniques. Among them photometry can be used to determine the physical properties of surface particles (e.g., grain size, roughness…). Laboratory measurements with the spectro-imaging instrument at the DTP laboratory (Toulouse, France) have been made to determine the photometric parameters of natural samples (e.g., basalts, pyroclastics and olivine grains). Each one has been sieved either into natural grain sizes or ground to get particles from 45 microns to 2 mm. Multiangular data spanning the phase range between 20 and 130° have been acquired and Hapke's photometric parameters b, c, theta and w have been determined by means of a dedicated genetic algorithm [Cord, Icarus, 2003]. The modelled phase functions match satisfactorily the observations, and the parameters show very different behaviours depending on the sample and grain size. For non glassy materials, such as fresh basalt or pyroclastics, surface roughness parameter theta ranges from 12° to 25° with an increase seemingly correlated with the grain size, while for glassy materials, such as olivine or Hawaiian basalt, this parameter is much lower (about 4 to 10°) and shows no increase with grain size. Phase parameters b and c estimates displayed on a double Henyey-Greenstein graph (c vs. b) [see McGuire & Hapke, Icarus, 1995] fall on the expected trend, with glassy materials becoming more and more forward-scattering when grain size increases. Non glassy samples display more variability when particle size increases, and generally show a more backward-scattering behaviour. These results show that a characterization of a surface state in terms of physical properties is possible from multiangular datasets using Hapke's photometric model. The combination of photometric results with spectroscopic analyses could thus lead to more thorough understanding of

  7. Comets in UV (United States)

    Shustov, B.; Sachkov, M.; Gómez de Castro, A. I.; Vallejo, J. C.; Kanev, E.; Dorofeeva, V.


    Comets are important "eyewitnesses" of Solar System formation and evolution. Important tests to determine the chemical composition and to study the physical processes in cometary nuclei and coma need data in the UV range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Comprehensive and complete studies require additional ground-based observations and in situ experiments. We briefly review observations of comets in the ultraviolet (UV) and discuss the prospects of UV observations of comets and exocomets with space-borne instruments. A special reference is made to the World Space Observatory-Ultraviolet (WSO-UV) project.

  8. Comets: looking ahead. (United States)

    A'Hearn, Michael F


    We outline the key questions about comets that must be answered in order to understand cometary formation in the context of the protoplanetary disc and the role of comets in the formation and evolution of the solar system. We then discuss the new understanding of comets from Rosetta and from other recent advances, including work presented by others at the discussion meeting. Finally, we suggest some key directions for future projects to better address the above questions.This article is part of the themed issue 'Cometary science after Rosetta'. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. Capturing asteroids into bound orbits around the earth: Massive early return on an asteroid terminal defense system

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hills, J.G.


    Nuclear explosives may be used to capture small asteroids (e.g., 20--50 meters in diameter) into bound orbits around the earth. The captured objects could be used for construction material for manned and unmanned activity in Earth orbit. Asteroids with small approach velocities, which are the ones most likely to have close approaches to the Earth, require the least energy for capture. They are particularly easy to capture if they pass within one Earth radius of the surface of the Earth. They could be intercepted with intercontinental missiles if the latter were retrofit with a more flexible guiding and homing capability. This asteroid capture-defense system could be implemented in a few years at low cost by using decommissioned ICMs. The economic value of even one captured asteroid is many times the initial investment. The asteroid capture system would be an essential part of the learning curve for dealing with larger asteroids that can hit the earth

  10. Autonomous real-time detection of plumes and jets from moons and comets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wagstaff, Kiri L.; Thompson, David R.; Bue, Brian D.; Fuchs, Thomas J., E-mail: [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)


    Dynamic activity on the surface of distant moons, asteroids, and comets can manifest as jets or plumes. These phenomena provide information about the interior of the bodies and the forces (gravitation, radiation, thermal) they experience. Fast detection and follow-up study is imperative since the phenomena may be time-varying and because the observing window may be limited (e.g., during a flyby). We have developed an advanced method for real-time detection of plumes and jets using onboard analysis of the data as it is collected. In contrast to prior work, our technique is not restricted to plume detection from spherical bodies, making it relevant for irregularly shaped bodies such as comets. Further, our study analyzes raw data, the form in which it is available on board the spacecraft, rather than fully processed image products. In summary, we contribute a vital assessment of a technique that can be used on board tomorrow's deep space missions to detect, and respond quickly to, new occurrences of plumes and jets.

  11. Autonomous real-time detection of plumes and jets from moons and comets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wagstaff, Kiri L.; Thompson, David R.; Bue, Brian D.; Fuchs, Thomas J.


    Dynamic activity on the surface of distant moons, asteroids, and comets can manifest as jets or plumes. These phenomena provide information about the interior of the bodies and the forces (gravitation, radiation, thermal) they experience. Fast detection and follow-up study is imperative since the phenomena may be time-varying and because the observing window may be limited (e.g., during a flyby). We have developed an advanced method for real-time detection of plumes and jets using onboard analysis of the data as it is collected. In contrast to prior work, our technique is not restricted to plume detection from spherical bodies, making it relevant for irregularly shaped bodies such as comets. Further, our study analyzes raw data, the form in which it is available on board the spacecraft, rather than fully processed image products. In summary, we contribute a vital assessment of a technique that can be used on board tomorrow's deep space missions to detect, and respond quickly to, new occurrences of plumes and jets.

  12. Split Active Asteroid P/2016 J1 (PANSTARRS)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hui, Man-To; Jewitt, David [Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, UCLA, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Box 951567, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 (United States); Du, Xinnan, E-mail: [Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA, 430 Portola Plaza, Box 951547, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547 (United States)


    We present a photometric and astrometric study of the split active asteroid P/2016 J1 (PANSTARRS). The two components (hereafter J1-A and J1-B) separated either ∼1500 days (2012 May to June) or 2300 days (2010 April) prior to the current epoch, with a separation speed V {sub sep} = 0.70 ± 0.02 m s{sup −1} for the former scenario and 0.83 ± 0.06 m s{sup −1} for the latter. Keck photometry reveals that the two fragments have similar, Sun-like colors that are comparable to the colors of primitive C- and G-type asteroids. With a nominal comet-like albedo, p{sub R} = 0.04, the effective, dust-contaminated cross sections are estimated to be 2.4 km{sup 2} for J1-A and 0.5 km{sup 2} for J1-B. We estimate that the nucleus radii lie in the range 140 ≲  R {sub N} ≲ 900 m for J1-A and 40 ≲  R {sub N} ≲ 400 m for J1-B. A syndyne–synchrone simulation shows that both components have been active for 3–6 months, by ejecting dust grains at speeds ∼0.5 m s{sup −1} with rates ∼1 kg s{sup −1} for J1-A and 0.1 kg s{sup −1} for J1-B. In its present orbit, the rotational spin-up and devolatilization times of 2016 J1 are very small compared to the age of the solar system, raising the question of why this object still exists. We suggest that ice that was formerly buried within this asteroid became exposed at the surface, perhaps via a small impact, and that sublimation torques then rapidly drove it to breakup. Further disintegration events are anticipated owing to the rotational instability.

  13. Asteroid Redirect Mission Proximity Operations for Reference Target Asteroid 2008 EV5 (United States)

    Reeves, David M.; Mazanek, Daniel D.; Cichy, Benjamin D.; Broschart, Steve B.; Deweese, Keith D.


    NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is composed of two segments, the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), and the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM). In March of 2015, NASA selected the Robotic Boulder Capture Option1 as the baseline for the ARRM. This option will capture a multi-ton boulder, (typically 2-4 meters in size) from the surface of a large (greater than approx.100 m diameter) Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) and return it to cis-lunar space for subsequent human exploration during the ARCM. Further human and robotic missions to the asteroidal material would also be facilitated by its return to cis-lunar space. In addition, prior to departing the asteroid, the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV) will perform a demonstration of the Enhanced Gravity Tractor (EGT) planetary defense technique2. This paper will discuss the proximity operations which have been broken into three phases: Approach and Characterization, Boulder Capture, and Planetary Defense Demonstration. Each of these phases has been analyzed for the ARRM reference target, 2008 EV5, and a detailed baseline operations concept has been developed.

  14. Mission to a comet that could save earth

    CERN Multimedia

    Utton, T


    Scientists are going to attempt to land a probe on the comet Wirtanen. The GBP640million unmanned craft will travel four billion miles before catching up with the comet Wirtanen and launching a robotic lander called Rosetta, on to its surface (1/2 page).

  15. Thermal inertia of near-Earth asteroids and implications for the magnitude of the Yarkovsky effect

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Delbo', Marco; dell'Oro, Aldo; Harris, Alan W.; Mottola, Stefano; Mueller, Michael


    Thermal inertia determines the temperature distribution over the surface of an asteroid and therefore governs the magnitude the Yarkovsky effect. The latter causes gradual drifting of the orbits of km-sized asteroids and plays an important role in the delivery of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) from the

  16. Thermal Inertia of near-Earth Asteroids and Strength of the Yarkovsky Effect

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Delbo, Marco; Dell'Oro, A.; Harris, A. W.; Mottola, S.; Mueller, M.


    Thermal inertia is the physical parameter that controls the temperature distribution over the surface of an asteroid. It affects the strength of the Yarkovsky effect, which causes orbital drift of km-sized asteroids and is invoked to explain the delivery of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) from the main

  17. William Herschel and Comets (United States)

    Sullivan, Woodruff


    I examine the observational and theoretical researches of William Herschel on 21 comets that he observed over the period 1781 to 1812. Herschel's focus, unlike most contemporaries, was on their physical structure, not their orbits. He forged a strong connection between comets and his nebulae with a scheme of cometary "maturation" (1812) involved a comet traveling from star to star after its central "planetary body'; was born from gravitational collapse of a nebula. During close passages of a star, the comet brightened and lost mass from its atmosphere; at other times, when between stars, it encountered nebulae and was rejuvenated by picking up more mass. Laplace soon adopted these ideas to improve his nebula hypothesis for solar system formation.

  18. Asteroid clusters similar to asteroid pairs (United States)

    Pravec, P.; Fatka, P.; Vokrouhlický, D.; Scheeres, D. J.; Kušnirák, P.; Hornoch, K.; Galád, A.; Vraštil, J.; Pray, D. P.; Krugly, Yu. N.; Gaftonyuk, N. M.; Inasaridze, R. Ya.; Ayvazian, V. R.; Kvaratskhelia, O. I.; Zhuzhunadze, V. T.; Husárik, M.; Cooney, W. R.; Gross, J.; Terrell, D.; Világi, J.; Kornoš, L.; Gajdoš, Š.; Burkhonov, O.; Ehgamberdiev, Sh. A.; Donchev, Z.; Borisov, G.; Bonev, T.; Rumyantsev, V. V.; Molotov, I. E.


    We studied the membership, size ratio and rotational properties of 13 asteroid clusters consisting of between 3 and 19 known members that are on similar heliocentric orbits. By backward integrations of their orbits, we confirmed their cluster membership and estimated times elapsed since separation of the secondaries (the smaller cluster members) from the primary (i.e., cluster age) that are between 105 and a few 106 years. We ran photometric observations for all the cluster primaries and a sample of secondaries and we derived their accurate absolute magnitudes and rotation periods. We found that 11 of the 13 clusters follow the same trend of primary rotation period vs mass ratio as asteroid pairs that was revealed by Pravec et al. (2010). We generalized the model of the post-fission system for asteroid pairs by Pravec et al. (2010) to a system of N components formed by rotational fission and we found excellent agreement between the data for the 11 asteroid clusters and the prediction from the theory of their formation by rotational fission. The two exceptions are the high-mass ratio (q > 0.7) clusters of (18777) Hobson and (22280) Mandragora for which a different formation mechanism is needed. Two candidate mechanisms for formation of more than one secondary by rotational fission were published: the secondary fission process proposed by Jacobson and Scheeres (2011) and a cratering collision event onto a nearly critically rotating primary proposed by Vokrouhlický et al. (2017). It will have to be revealed from future studies which of the clusters were formed by one or the other process. To that point, we found certain further interesting properties and features of the asteroid clusters that place constraints on the theories of their formation, among them the most intriguing being the possibility of a cascade disruption for some of the clusters.

  19. Seasonal temperature effects on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as inferred from Rosetta/VIRTIS (United States)

    Tosi, F.; Capaccioni, F.; Filacchione, G.; Leyrat, C.; Raponi, A.; Arnold, G.; Capria, M. T.; De Sanctis, M. C.; Erard, S.; Piccioni, G.; Schmitt, B.; Bockelée-Morvan, D.; Combe, J.-Ph.; Formisano, M.; Kuehrt, E.; Longobardo, A.; Mottola, S.; Palomba, E.


    temperatures, but, due to comet 67P's obliquity, for each location the smallest achievable value of insolation angle depends on the season. During 2014, VIRTIS' visible and infrared measurements covered only the northern regions of the cometary surface and the equatorial belt became gradually unveiled, while the southern region is going to be revealed from 2015 onwards. In addition, the heliocentric distance strongly affects the surface temperature. This is a larger effect in comets than in asteroids, due to the wide range of heliocentric distance values spanned by comets. However, on the basis of temperature data returned by the VIR instrument onboard Dawn, it was possible to discern the effect of the heliocentric distance also in the large asteroid Vesta [5]. When Rosetta started its global mapping observation campaign, i.e. in early August 2014, the heliocentric distance of comet 67P was ~3.6 AU, while it decreased to 3.0 AU on 11 November 2014, to 2.0 AU on 27 March 2015, and the perihelion passage is expected on 13 August 2015 at 1.24 AU from the Sun. By relating surface temperatures as measured by VIRTIS to three variables: solar incidence angle, true local solar time and heliocentric distance, for a given location on the surface (chosen particularly in the equatorial region, which experienced different seasons), we aim to separate the relative contributions due to season and to the heliocentric distance. These results are unprecedented for a comet, given the unique ability of Rosetta to closely observe a cometary nucleus over a long period of time. In principle, such work may deepen the knowledge of the thermal properties of the cometary nuclei. However, the increase in activity on a global scale that accompanies the perihelion passage implies to consider other effects such as sublimation and changes in the surface composition and roughness. EPSC Abstracts Vol. 10, EPSC2015-268, 2015 European Planetary Science Congress 2015 c Author(s) 2015 EPSC European P

  20. The Fascinating Quest of Asteroids: The Remnants of Planetary Formation (United States)

    Michel, Patrick


    Asteroids are the leftover building blocks of the terrestrial planets and offer clues to the chemical mixture from which the planets formed. Current studies suggest that asteroid impacts in the early history of our planet may have delivered the necessary material for the emergence of life. In our current epoch, collisions of asteroids with the Earth pose a finite hazard and the design of efficient mitigation strategies relies on our knowledge of their physical properties. For all these reasons, the exploration of asteroids is a fascinating quest. This presentation will provide a basic overview of our current knowledge of asteroids, thanks in particular to space missions, observations and numerical models that allow exploring the different processes that they undergo during their evolutions. What are asteroids? Are they our friends or enemies? Amazing real images and movies of asteroids, which are stunning in their diversity, will be shown and discussed, as well as movies of numerical simulations of collisions and surface evolutions. Among other things, the first detailed images of a Near-Earth Asteroid, Eros, obtained by NASA’s NEAR mission in 2000-2001, will be presented, as well as images of Vesta, the second largest asteroid, from NASA’s Dawn mission. The fantastic adventure of the Japanese mission Hayabusa , which successfully returned to Earth a sample from the smallest asteroid ever visited in 2010, will also be discussed. Missions under development at NASA (OSIRIS-Rex), JAXA (Hayabusa 2), and under study at ESA (MarcoPolo-R), each with the goal of returning a sample from a possibly organic-rich asteroid, will also be presented. This fascinating quest continues and it is already clear that the next visits to asteroids will keep turning our understanding on its head and provide a wealth of exciting data to future generations of researchers.

  1. Reservoirs for Comets: Compositional Differences Based on Infrared Observations (United States)

    Disanti, Michael A.; Mumma, Michael J.

    Tracing measured compositions of comets to their origins continues to be of keen interest to cometary scientists and to dynamical modelers of Solar System formation and evolution. This requires building a taxonomy of comets from both present-day dynamical reservoirs: the Kuiper Belt (hereafter KB), sampled through observation of ecliptic comets (primarily Jupiter Family comets, or JFCs), and the Oort cloud (OC), represented observationally by the long-period comets and by Halley Family comets (HFCs). Because of their short orbital periods, JFCs are subjected to more frequent exposure to solar radiation compared with OC comets. The recent apparitions of the JFCs 9P/Tempel 1 and 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 permitted detailed observations of material issuing from below their surfaces—these comets added significantly to the compositional database on this dynamical class, which is under-represented in studies of cometary parent volatiles. This chapter reviews the latest techniques developed for analysis of high-resolution spectral observations from ˜2-5 μm, and compares measured abundances of native ices among comets. While no clear compositional delineation can be drawn along dynamical lines, interesting comparisons can be made. The sub-surface composition of comet 9P, as revealed by the Deep Impact ejecta, was similar to the majority of OC comets studied. Meanwhile, 73P was depleted in all native ices except HCN, similar to the disintegrated OC comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR). These results suggest that 73P may have formed in the inner giant planets' region while 9P formed farther out or, alternatively, that both JFCs formed farther from the Sun but with 73P forming later in time.

  2. Near Earth Asteroid Scout (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, or NEA Scout, is a 6U CubeSat developed jointly between NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA...

  3. Asteroid rotation. IV

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Harris, A.W.; Young, J.W.


    The results from the year 1979 of an ongoing program of asteroid photometry at Table Mountain Observatory are presented. The results for 53 asteroids are summarized in a table, showing the number, name, opposition date, taxonomic class, diameter, absolute magnitude, mean absolute magnitude at zero phase angle and values of the absolute magnitude and linear phase coefficient derived from it, the rotation period in hours, peak-to-peak amplitude of variation, difference between mean and maximum brightness, and reliability index. Another table presents data on aspect and comparison stars, including brightness and distance data. Reliable rotation periods are reported for 22 asteroids for which no previous values are known. For seven asteroids, periods are reported which are revisions of previously reported values


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set is a compilation of mean U-B and B-V color indices of asteroids, collected from the published literature and from the unpublished Lowell Observatory...

  5. 24-COLOR ASTEROID SURVEY (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This dataset is comprised of asteroid flux data measured in 26 filters using the McCord dual beam photometer, and covering the range 0.32 - 1.08 microns for 285...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains 94 optical asteroid spectra obtained by Scott Sawyer as part of his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin. Observational...

  7. 52-COLOR ASTEROID SURVEY (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains 52-color IR data of asteroids, taken using a double circularly variable filter. The short wavelength portion of the CVF covered the octave...

  8. A retrograde co-orbital asteroid of Jupiter. (United States)

    Wiegert, Paul; Connors, Martin; Veillet, Christian


    Recent theoretical work in celestial mechanics has revealed that an asteroid may orbit stably in the same region as a planet, despite revolving around the Sun in the sense opposite to that of the planet itself. Asteroid 2015 BZ 509 was discovered in 2015, but with too much uncertainty in its measured orbit to establish whether it was such a retrograde co-orbital body. Here we report observations and analysis that demonstrates that asteroid 2015 BZ 509 is indeed a retrograde co-orbital asteroid of the planet Jupiter. We find that 2015 BZ 509 has long-term stability, having been in its current, resonant state for around a million years. This is long enough to preclude precise calculation of the time or mechanism of its injection to its present state, but it may be a Halley-family comet that entered the resonance through an interaction with Saturn. Retrograde co-orbital asteroids of Jupiter and other planets may be more common than previously expected.


    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Greenstreet, S.; Gladman, B.; Ngo, H.; Granvik, M.; Larson, S.


    While computing an improved near-Earth object (NEO) steady-state orbital distribution model, we discovered in the numerical integrations the unexpected production of retrograde orbits for asteroids that had originally exited from the accepted main-belt source regions. Our model indicates that ∼0.1% (a factor of two uncertainty) of the steady-state NEO population (perihelion q < 1.3 AU) is on retrograde orbits. These rare outcomes typically happen when asteroid orbits flip to a retrograde configuration while in the 3:1 mean-motion resonance with Jupiter and then live for ∼0.001 to 100 Myr. The model predicts, given the estimated near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population, that a few retrograde 0.1-1 km NEAs should exist. Currently, there are two known MPC NEOs with asteroidal designations on retrograde orbits which we therefore claim could be escaped asteroids instead of devolatilized comets. This retrograde NEA population may also answer a long-standing question in the meteoritical literature regarding the origin of high-strength, high-velocity meteoroids on retrograde orbits.

  10. The Discovery of Cometary Activity in Near-Earth Asteroid (3552) Don Quixote (United States)

    Mommert, Michael; Hora, Joseph L.; Harris, Alan W.; Reach, William T.; Emery, Joshua P.; Thomas, Cristina A.; Mueller, Michael; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Trilling, David E.; Delbo, Marco; Smith, Howard A.


    The near-Earth object (NEO) population, which mainly consists of fragments from collisions between asteroids in the main asteroid belt, is thought to include contributions from short-period comets as well. One of the most promising NEO candidates for a cometary origin is near-Earth asteroid (3552) Don Quixote, which has never been reported to show activity. Here we present the discovery of cometary activity in Don Quixote based on thermal-infrared observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope in its 3.6 and 4.5 μm bands. Our observations clearly show the presence of a coma and a tail in the 4.5 μm but not in the 3.6 μm band, which is consistent with molecular band emission from CO2. Thermal modeling of the combined photometric data on Don Quixote reveals a diameter of 18.4_{-0.4}^{+0.3} km and an albedo of 0.03^{+0.02}_{-0.01}, which confirms Don Quixote to be the third-largest known NEO. We derive an upper limit on the dust production rate of 1.9 kg s-1 and derive a CO2 gas production rate of (1.1 ± 0.1) × 1026 molecules s-1. Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectroscopic observations indicate the presence of fine-grained silicates, perhaps pyroxene rich, on the surface of Don Quixote. Our discovery suggests that CO2 can be present in near-Earth space over a long time. The presence of CO2 might also explain that Don Quixote's cometary nature remained hidden for nearly three decades.

  11. The discovery of cometary activity in near-Earth asteroid (3552) Don Quixote

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mommert, Michael; Harris, Alan W. [Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Rutherfordstr. 2, D-12489 Berlin (Germany); Hora, Joseph L.; Smith, Howard A. [Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-1516 (United States); Reach, William T. [Universities Space Research Association, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, MS 232-11, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Emery, Joshua P. [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, 1412 Circle Dr., Knoxville, TN 37996 (United States); Thomas, Cristina A. [NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Mueller, Michael [SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen (Netherlands); Cruikshank, Dale P. [NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States); Trilling, David E. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University, P.O. Box 6010, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 (United States); Delbo, Marco [UNS-CNRS-Observatoire de la Cote d' Azur, BP4229, F-06304 Nice Cedex 4 (France)


    The near-Earth object (NEO) population, which mainly consists of fragments from collisions between asteroids in the main asteroid belt, is thought to include contributions from short-period comets as well. One of the most promising NEO candidates for a cometary origin is near-Earth asteroid (3552) Don Quixote, which has never been reported to show activity. Here we present the discovery of cometary activity in Don Quixote based on thermal-infrared observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope in its 3.6 and 4.5 μm bands. Our observations clearly show the presence of a coma and a tail in the 4.5 μm but not in the 3.6 μm band, which is consistent with molecular band emission from CO{sub 2}. Thermal modeling of the combined photometric data on Don Quixote reveals a diameter of 18.4{sub −0.4}{sup +0.3} km and an albedo of 0.03{sub −0.01}{sup +0.02}, which confirms Don Quixote to be the third-largest known NEO. We derive an upper limit on the dust production rate of 1.9 kg s{sup –1} and derive a CO{sub 2} gas production rate of (1.1 ± 0.1) × 10{sup 26} molecules s{sup –1}. Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectroscopic observations indicate the presence of fine-grained silicates, perhaps pyroxene rich, on the surface of Don Quixote. Our discovery suggests that CO{sub 2} can be present in near-Earth space over a long time. The presence of CO{sub 2} might also explain that Don Quixote's cometary nature remained hidden for nearly three decades.

  12. The discovery of cometary activity in near-Earth asteroid (3552) Don Quixote

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mommert, Michael; Harris, Alan W.; Hora, Joseph L.; Smith, Howard A.; Reach, William T.; Emery, Joshua P.; Thomas, Cristina A.; Mueller, Michael; Cruikshank, Dale P.; Trilling, David E.; Delbo, Marco


    The near-Earth object (NEO) population, which mainly consists of fragments from collisions between asteroids in the main asteroid belt, is thought to include contributions from short-period comets as well. One of the most promising NEO candidates for a cometary origin is near-Earth asteroid (3552) Don Quixote, which has never been reported to show activity. Here we present the discovery of cometary activity in Don Quixote based on thermal-infrared observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope in its 3.6 and 4.5 μm bands. Our observations clearly show the presence of a coma and a tail in the 4.5 μm but not in the 3.6 μm band, which is consistent with molecular band emission from CO 2 . Thermal modeling of the combined photometric data on Don Quixote reveals a diameter of 18.4 −0.4 +0.3 km and an albedo of 0.03 −0.01 +0.02 , which confirms Don Quixote to be the third-largest known NEO. We derive an upper limit on the dust production rate of 1.9 kg s –1 and derive a CO 2 gas production rate of (1.1 ± 0.1) × 10 26 molecules s –1 . Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectroscopic observations indicate the presence of fine-grained silicates, perhaps pyroxene rich, on the surface of Don Quixote. Our discovery suggests that CO 2 can be present in near-Earth space over a long time. The presence of CO 2 might also explain that Don Quixote's cometary nature remained hidden for nearly three decades.

  13. Comet Tempel 1 Went Back to Sleep (United States)


    Astronomers Having Used ESO Telescopes Start Analysing Unique Dataset on the Comet Following the Deep Impact Mission Ten days after part of the Deep Impact spacecraft plunged onto Comet Tempel 1 with the aim to create a crater and expose pristine material from beneath the surface, astronomers are back in the ESO Offices in Santiago, after more than a week of observing at the ESO La Silla Paranal Observatory. In this unprecedented observing campaign - among the most ambitious ever conducted by a single observatory - the astronomers have collected a large amount of invaluable data on this comet. The astronomers have now started the lengthy process of data reduction and analysis. Being all together in a single place, and in close contacts with the space mission' scientific team, they will try to assemble a clear picture of the comet and of the impact. The ESO observations were part of a worldwide campaign to observe this unique experiment. During the campaign, ESO was connected by phone, email, and videoconference with colleagues in all major observatories worldwide, and data were freely exchanged between the different groups. This unique collaborative spirit provides astronomers with data taken almost around the clock during several days and this, with the largest variety of instruments, making the Deep Impact observing campaign one of the most successful of its kind, and thereby, ensuring the greatest scientific outcome. From the current analysis, it appears most likely that the impactor did not create a large new zone of activity and may have failed to liberate a large quantity of pristine material from beneath the surface. ESO PR Photo 22/05 ESO PR Photo 22/05 Evolution of Comet Tempel 1 (FORS2/VLT) [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 701 pix - 128k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 1401 pix - 357k] ESO PR Photo 22/05 Animated Gif Caption: ESO PR Photo 22/05 shows the evolution of Comet Tempel 1 as observed with the FORS2 instrument on Antu (VLT). The images obtained at the VLT show that

  14. Mars Geochemical Instrument (MarGI): An instrument for the analysis of the Martian surface and the search for evidence of life (United States)

    Kojiro, Daniel R.; Mancinelli, Rocco; Martin, Joe; Holland, Paul M.; Stimac, Robert M.; Kaye, William J.


    The Mars Geochemical Instrument, MarGI, was developed to provide a comprehensive analysis of the rocks and surface material on Mars. The instrument combines Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA) with miniature Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (GC-IMS) to identify minerals, the presence and state of water, and organic compounds. Miniature pyrolysis ovens are used to both, conduct DTA analysis of soil or crushed rocks samples, and pyrolyze the samples at temperatures up to 1000 degrees C for GC-IMS analysis of the released gases. This combination of analytical processes and techniques, which can characterize the mineralogy of the rocks and soil, and identify and quantify volatiles released during pyrolysis, has applications across a wide range of target sites including comets, planets, asteroids, and moons such as Titan and Europa. The MarGI analytical approach evolved from the Cometary Ice and Dust Experiment (CIDEX) selected to fly on the Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby Mission (CRAF).

  15. BAOBAB (Big And Outrageously Bold Asteroid Belt) Project (United States)

    Mcfadden, L. A.; Thomas, C. A; Englander, J. A.; Ruesch, O.; Hosseini, S.; Goossens, S. J.; Mazarico, E. M.; Schmerr, N.


    One of the intriguing results of NASA's Dawn mission is the composition and structure of the Main Asteroid Belt's only known dwarf planet, Ceres [1]. It has a top layer of dehydrated clays and salts [2] and an icy-rocky mantle [3,4]. It is widely known that the asteroid belt failed to accrete as a planet by resonances between the Sun and Jupiter. About 20-30 asteroids >100 km diameter are probably differentiated protoplanets [5]. 1) how many more and which ones are fragments of protoplanets? 2) How many and which ones are primordial rubble piles left over from condensation of the solar nebula? 3) How would we go about gaining better and more complete characterization of the mass, interior structure and composition of the Main Belt asteroid population? 4) What is the relationship between asteroids and ocean worlds? Bulk parameters such as the mass, density, and porosity, are important to characterize the structure of any celestial body, and for asteroids in particular, they can shed light on the conditions in the early solar system. Asteroid density estimates exist but currently they are often based on assumed properties of taxonomic classes, or through astronomical survey data where interactions with asteroids are weak at best resulting in large measurement uncertainty. We only have direct density estimates from spacecraft encounters for a few asteroids at this time. Knowledge of the asteroids is significant not only to understand their role in solar system workings, but also to assess their potential as space resources, as impact hazards on Earth, or even as harboring life forms. And for the distant future, we want to know if the idea put forth in a contest sponsored by Physics Today, to surface the asteroids into highly reflecting, polished surfaces and use them as a massively segmented mirror for astrophysical exploration [6], is feasible.

  16. Comet LINEAR C/1999 S4 - an absolutely well-behaved comet before breakup (United States)

    Peschke, S. B.; Lisse, C. M.; Fernandez, Y. R.; Ressler, M.; Stickel, M.; Kaminski, C.; Golish, B.


    We present results from infrared imaging of comet LINEAR C/1999 S4 on June 17 - 19, 2000 (pre-breakup), using the near-IR camera NSFCAM and the mid-IR camera MIRLIN at the 3m NASA/IRTF. Images and multi-wavelength spectroscopy were obtained in the zJHK'L'MNQ bands, and were used to create a 1.0 - 25 μ m SED of the comet's dust and nucleus. The coma's contribution at each wavelength was modeled using spatial fitting (Fernandez 1999, PhD thesis; Lisse et al. 1999, Icarus 140, 189). The resulting comatic and nuclear SEDs were then modeled using modified Mie theory (Lisse et al. 1998, ApJ 496, 971) and the standard nuclear thermal models (Lebofsky and Spencer 1989, Asteroids II, 128), respectively. We report the resulting dust PSD, mass loss rate, and albedo, as well as the nuclear radius, and we compare these results to those obtained by others from optical data both before and after the comet's breakup in late July 2000.

  17. Getting together in deep space - The Rosetta space probe's long trek to Comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko (United States)


    2005, 2007 and 2008) to pick up speed. Asteroids for company A change is as good as a rest, and a meeting with at least one asteroid should help break the monotony for Rosetta. The spacecraft will come close to an asteroid at the end of 2008. Asteroids are, it will be remembered, rocky bodies, some as large as mountains, some even larger, that orbit the Sun in much the same way as planets. “These ‘brief encounters’ are a scientific opportunity and also a chance to test Rosetta’s instrument payload,” says Gerhard Schwehm. But asteroid exploration also serves an entirely practical purpose: “The more we find out about them, the better the prospect of being able one day to avert a possible collision.” Following a period of low-activity cruising, the probe’s course will be adjusted one last time in May 2011. From July 2011, a further two-and-a-half years' radio silence will be observed, and Rosetta, left entirely to its own resources, will fly close to the Jupiter orbit. Link-up in 2014 Finally, in January 2014, the probe will be reactivated and will, by October 2014, be only a few kilometres distant from Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is where the dream of so many scientists becomes reality. Having deposited its precious lander cargo on the comet’s surface, Rosetta will continue to orbit Churyumov-Gerasimenko and together they will spend the next seventeen months flying towards the Sun. Rosetta was built by an international consortium led by Astrium. The lander probe was developed in Cologne under the aegis of the DLR, Germany’s space agency, with contributions from ESA and research centres in Austria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Great Britain. The comet explorer carries ten scientific instruments. Their job is to draw out the secrets of the comet’s chemical and physical composition and reveal its magnetic and electrical properties. Using a specially designed camera, the lander will take pictures in the macro and micro ranges and send

  18. Comets in Australian Aboriginal Astronomy (United States)

    Hamacher, Duane W.; Norris, Ray P.


    We present 25 accounts of comets from 40 Australian Aboriginal communities, citing both supernatural perceptions of comets and historical accounts of historically bright comets. Historical and ethnographic descriptions include the Great Comets of 1843, 1861, 1901, 1910, and 1927. We describe the perceptions of comets in Aboriginal societies and show that they are typically associated with fear, death, omens, malevolent spirits, and evil magic, consistent with many cultures around the world. We also provide a list of words for comets in 16 different Aboriginal languages.

  19. Hungaria asteroid region telescopic spectral survey (HARTSS) I: Stony asteroids abundant in the Hungaria background population (United States)

    Lucas, Michael P.; Emery, Joshua P.; Pinilla-Alonso, Noemi; Lindsay, Sean S.; Lorenzi, Vania


    The Hungaria asteroids remain as survivors of late giant planet migration that destabilized a now extinct inner portion of the primordial asteroid belt and left in its wake the current resonance structure of the Main Belt. In this scenario, the Hungaria region represents a ;purgatory; for the closest, preserved samples of the asteroidal material from which the terrestrial planets accreted. Deciphering the surface composition of these unique samples may provide constraints on the nature of the primordial building blocks of the terrestrial planets. We have undertaken an observational campaign entitled the Hungaria Asteroid Region Telescopic Spectral Survey (HARTSS) to record near-infrared (NIR) reflectance spectra in order to characterize their taxonomy, surface mineralogy, and potential meteorite analogs. The overall objective of HARTSS is to evaluate the compositional diversity of asteroids located throughout the Hungaria region. This region harbors a collisional family of Xe-type asteroids, which are situated among a background (i.e., non-family) of predominantly S-complex asteroids. In order to assess the compositional diversity of the Hungaria region, we have targeted background objects during Phase I of HARTSS. Collisional family members likely reflect the composition of one original homogeneous parent body, so we have largely avoided them in this phase. We have employed NIR instruments at two ground-based telescope facilities: the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG). Our data set includes the NIR spectra of 42 Hungaria asteroids (36 background; 6 family). We find that stony S-complex asteroids dominate the Hungaria background population (29/36 objects; ∼80%). C-complex asteroids are uncommon (2/42; ∼5%) within the Hungaria region. Background S-complex objects exhibit considerable spectral diversity as band parameter measurements of diagnostic absorption features near 1- and 2-μm indicate that several

  20. Spectral decomposition of asteroid Itokawa based on principal component analysis (United States)

    Koga, Sumire C.; Sugita, Seiji; Kamata, Shunichi; Ishiguro, Masateru; Hiroi, Takahiro; Tatsumi, Eri; Sasaki, Sho


    The heliocentric stratification of asteroid spectral types may hold important information on the early evolution of the Solar System. Asteroid spectral taxonomy is based largely on principal component analysis. However, how the surface properties of asteroids, such as the composition and age, are projected in the principal-component (PC) space is not understood well. We decompose multi-band disk-resolved visible spectra of the Itokawa surface with principal component analysis (PCA) in comparison with main-belt asteroids. The obtained distribution of Itokawa spectra projected in the PC space of main-belt asteroids follows a linear trend linking the Q-type and S-type regions and is consistent with the results of space-weathering experiments on ordinary chondrites and olivine, suggesting that this trend may be a space-weathering-induced spectral evolution track for S-type asteroids. Comparison with space-weathering experiments also yield a short average surface age (component of Itokawa surface spectra is consistent with spectral change due to space weathering and that the spatial variation in the degree of space weathering is very large (a factor of three in surface age), which would strongly suggest the presence of strong regional/local resurfacing process(es) on this small asteroid.

  1. Large heterogeneities in comet 67P as revealed by active pits from sinkhole collapse. (United States)

    Vincent, Jean-Baptiste; Bodewits, Dennis; Besse, Sébastien; Sierks, Holger; Barbieri, Cesare; Lamy, Philippe; Rodrigo, Rafael; Koschny, Detlef; Rickman, Hans; Keller, Horst Uwe; Agarwal, Jessica; A'Hearn, Michael F; Auger, Anne-Thérèse; Barucci, M Antonella; Bertaux, Jean-Loup; Bertini, Ivano; Capanna, Claire; Cremonese, Gabriele; Da Deppo, Vania; Davidsson, Björn; Debei, Stefano; De Cecco, Mariolino; El-Maarry, Mohamed Ramy; Ferri, Francesca; Fornasier, Sonia; Fulle, Marco; Gaskell, Robert; Giacomini, Lorenza; Groussin, Olivier; Guilbert-Lepoutre, Aurélie; Gutierrez-Marques, P; Gutiérrez, Pedro J; Güttler, Carsten; Hoekzema, Nick; Höfner, Sebastian; Hviid, Stubbe F; Ip, Wing-Huen; Jorda, Laurent; Knollenberg, Jörg; Kovacs, Gabor; Kramm, Rainer; Kührt, Ekkehard; Küppers, Michael; La Forgia, Fiorangela; Lara, Luisa M; Lazzarin, Monica; Lee, Vicky; Leyrat, Cédric; Lin, Zhong-Yi; Lopez Moreno, Josè J; Lowry, Stephen; Magrin, Sara; Maquet, Lucie; Marchi, Simone; Marzari, Francesco; Massironi, Matteo; Michalik, Harald; Moissl, Richard; Mottola, Stefano; Naletto, Giampiero; Oklay, Nilda; Pajola, Maurizio; Preusker, Frank; Scholten, Frank; Thomas, Nicolas; Toth, Imre; Tubiana, Cecilia


    Pits have been observed on many cometary nuclei mapped by spacecraft. It has been argued that cometary pits are a signature of endogenic activity, rather than impact craters such as those on planetary and asteroid surfaces. Impact experiments and models cannot reproduce the shapes of most of the observed cometary pits, and the predicted collision rates imply that few of the pits are related to impacts. Alternative mechanisms like explosive activity have been suggested, but the driving process remains unknown. Here we report that pits on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are active, and probably created by a sinkhole process, possibly accompanied by outbursts. We argue that after formation, pits expand slowly in diameter, owing to sublimation-driven retreat of the walls. Therefore, pits characterize how eroded the surface is: a fresh cometary surface will have a ragged structure with many pits, while an evolved surface will look smoother. The size and spatial distribution of pits imply that large heterogeneities exist in the physical, structural or compositional properties of the first few hundred metres below the current nucleus surface.

  2. Comet Dust After Deep Impact (United States)

    Wooden, Diane H.; Harker, David E.; Woodward, Charles E.


    When the Deep Impact Mission hit Jupiter Family comet 9P/Tempel 1, an ejecta crater was formed and an pocket of volatile gases and ices from 10-30 m below the surface was exposed (A Hearn et aI. 2005). This resulted in a gas geyser that persisted for a few hours (Sugita et al, 2005). The gas geyser pushed dust grains into the coma (Sugita et a1. 2005), as well as ice grains (Schulz et al. 2006). The smaller of the dust grains were submicron in radii (0-25.3 micron), and were primarily composed of highly refractory minerals including amorphous (non-graphitic) carbon, and silicate minerals including amorphous (disordered) olivine (Fe,Mg)2SiO4 and pyroxene (Fe,Mg)SiO3 and crystalline Mg-rich olivine. The smaller grains moved faster, as expected from the size-dependent velocity law produced by gas-drag on grains. The mineralogy evolved with time: progressively larger grains persisted in the near nuclear region, having been imparted with slower velocities, and the mineralogies of these larger grains appeared simpler and without crystals. The smaller 0.2-0.3 micron grains reached the coma in about 1.5 hours (1 arc sec = 740 km), were more diverse in mineralogy than the larger grains and contained crystals, and appeared to travel through the coma together. No smaller grains appeared at larger coma distances later (with slower velocities), implying that if grain fragmentation occurred, it happened within the gas acceleration zone. These results of the high spatial resolution spectroscopy (GEMINI+Michelle: Harker et 4. 2005, 2006; Subaru+COMICS: Sugita et al. 2005) revealed that the grains released from the interior were different from the nominally active areas of this comet by their: (a) crystalline content, (b) smaller size, (c) more diverse mineralogy. The temporal changes in the spectra, recorded by GEMIM+Michelle every 7 minutes, indicated that the dust mineralogy is inhomogeneous and, unexpectedly, the portion of the size distribution dominated by smaller grains has

  3. Jupiter Laser Facility - COMET Laser (United States)

    Federal Laboratory Consortium — COMET has 4 beam configurations with uncompressed pulse lengths from 500 ps to 6 ns, compressed pulses to 0.5 ps, and beam energies up to 20 J. COMET can fire every...

  4. Exogenous origin of hydration on asteroid (16) Psyche: the role of hydrated asteroid families (United States)

    Avdellidou, C.; Delbo', M.; Fienga, A.


    Asteroid (16) Psyche, which for a long time was the largest M-type with no detection of hydration features in its spectrum, was recently discovered to have a weak 3-μm band and thus it was eventually added to the group of hydrated asteroids. Its relatively high density, in combination with the high radar albedo, led researchers to classify the asteroid as a metallic object. It is believed that it is possibly a core of a differentiated body, a remnant of `hit-and-run' collisions. The detection of hydration is, in principle, inconsistent with a pure metallic origin for this body. Here, we consider the scenario in which the hydration on its surface is exogenous and was delivered by hydrated impactors. We show that impacting asteroids that belong to families whose members have the 3-μm band can deliver hydrated material to Psyche. We developed a collisional model with which we test all dark carbonaceous asteroid families, which contain hydrated members. We find that the major source of hydrated impactors is the family of Themis, with a total implanted mass on Psyche of the order of ˜1014 kg. However, the hydrated fraction could be only a few per cent of the implanted mass, as the water content in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, the best analogue for the Themis asteroid family, is typically a few per cent of their mass.

  5. Orbital Alignment of Main-belt Comets (United States)

    Kim, Yoonyoung; JeongAhn, Youngmin; Hsieh, Henry H.


    We examine the orbital element distribution of main-belt comets (MBCs), which are objects that exhibit cometary activity yet orbit in the main asteroid belt and may be potentially useful as tracers of ice in the inner solar system. We find that the currently known and currently active MBCs have remarkably similar longitudes of perihelion, which are also aligned with that of Jupiter. The clustered objects have significantly higher current osculating eccentricities relative to their proper eccentricities, consistent with their orbits being currently, though only temporarily, secularly excited in osculating eccentricity due to Jupiter’s influence. At the moment, most MBCs seem to have current osculating elements that may be particularly favorable for the object becoming active (e.g., maybe because of higher perihelion temperatures or higher impact velocities causing an effective increase in the size of the potential triggering impactor population). At other times, other icy asteroids will have those favorable conditions and might become MBCs at those times as well.

  6. Discovery of spin-rate-dependent asteroid thermal inertia


    Harris, Alan; Drube, Line


    Knowledge of the surface thermal inertia of an asteroid can provide insight into surface structure: porous material has a lower thermal inertia than rock. Using WISE/NEOWISE data and our new asteroid thermal-inertia estimator we show that the thermal inertia of main-belt asteroids (MBAs) appears to increase with spin period. Similar behavior is found in the case of thermophysically-modeled thermal inertia values of near-Earth objects (NEOs). We interpret our results in terms of rapidly increa...

  7. The Maria asteroid family (United States)

    Aljbaae, S.; Carruba, V.; Masiero, J. R.; Domingos, R. C.; Huaman, M.


    The Maria asteroid family is a group of S-type asteroids. Its location adjacent to the left side of the 3J:-1A mean-motion resonances could be the reason for the absence of the left side of the `V' shape in the (a, 1/D) domain. This family can be considered as a likely source of ordinary chondrite-like material. In this work, we make use of the time dependence of the asymmetric coefficient AS describing the degree of asymmetry of the C distribution of a fictitious Maria family generated with the value of the ejection velocity parameter VEJ = 35 m s-1 to obtain an age estimate of 1750_{+537}^{-231} Myr, in good agreement with the family age found in the literature. Analysing the contribution to the near-Earth object (NEO) population, we found that about 7.6 per cent of presently known near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have orbits similar to asteroids from the Maria family. Only ˜1.7 per cent of our simulated family can stay in NEO space for more than 10 Myr, while only five asteroids become NEOs in the last 500 Myr of the simulation.

  8. Discovering the Nature of Comets. (United States)

    Whipple, Fred L.


    "The Mystery of Comets" by Dr. Fred Whipple provides an introduction to the modern picture of comets and his personal reminiscences of how his model of comets came to be. An adaptation of several sections of the book is presented. (JN)

  9. Term Projects on Interstellar Comets (United States)

    Mack, John E.


    Presents two calculations of the probability of detection of an interstellar comet, under the hypothesis that such comets would escape from comet clouds similar to that believed to surround the sun. Proposes three problems, each of which would be a reasonable term project for a motivated undergraduate. (Author/MLH)

  10. Asteroids - NeoWs API (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NeoWs (Near Earth Object Web Service) is a RESTful web service for near earth Asteroid information. With NeoWs a user can: search for Asteroids based on their...

  11. Asteroids astronomical and geological bodies

    CERN Document Server

    Burbine, Thomas H


    Asteroid science is a fundamental topic in planetary science and is key to furthering our understanding of planetary formation and the evolution of the Solar System. Ground-based observations and missions have provided a wealth of new data in recent years, and forthcoming missions promise further exciting results. This accessible book presents a comprehensive introduction to asteroid science, summarising the astronomical and geological characteristics of asteroids. The interdisciplinary nature of asteroid science is reflected in the broad range of topics covered, including asteroid and meteorite classification, chemical and physical properties of asteroids, observational techniques, cratering, and the discovery of asteroids and how they are named. Other chapters discuss past, present and future space missions and the threat that these bodies pose for Earth. Based on an upper-level course on asteroids and meteorites taught by the author, this book is ideal for students, researchers and professional scientists ...

  12. Ensemble Properties of Comets in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Solontoi, Michael; /Adler Planetarium, Chicago; Ivezic, Zeljko; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; Juric, Mario; /Harvard Coll. Observ.; Becker, Andrew C.; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; Jones, Lynne; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; West, Andrew A.; /Boston U.; Kent, Steve; /Fermilab; Lupton, Robert H.; /Princeton U. Observ.; Claire, Mark; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; Knapp, Gillian R.; /Princeton U. Observ.; Quinn, Tom; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept. /Princeton U. Observ.


    We present the ensemble properties of 31 comets (27 resolved and 4 unresolved) observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This sample of comets represents about 1 comet per 10 million SDSS photometric objects. Five-band (u, g, r, i, z) photometry is used to determine the comets colors, sizes, surface brightness profiles, and rates of dust production in terms of the Afp formalism. We find that the cumulative luminosity function for the Jupiter Family Comets in our sample is well fit by a power law of the form N(comets. The resolved comets show an extremely narrow distribution of colors (0.57 {+-} 0.05 in g - r for example), which are statistically indistinguishable from that of the Jupiter Trojans. Further, there is no evidence of correlation between color and physical, dynamical, or observational parameters for the observed comets.

  13. Geography of the asteroid belt (United States)

    Zellner, B. H.


    The CSM classification serves as the starting point on the geography of the asteroid belt. Raw data on asteroid types are corrected for observational biases (against dark objects, for instance) to derive the distribution of types throughout the belt. Recent work on family members indicates that dynamical families have a true physical relationship, presumably indicating common origin in the breakup of a parent asteroid.

  14. Death of a comet

    CERN Multimedia

    Hawkes, N


    The comet Linear dissolved as it made its closest approach to the sun on July 25th. The first stages of its breakup had been witnessed by the Hubble telescope when it threw off a piece of its crust (3 paragraphs).

  15. Comets in Indian Scriptures (United States)

    Das Gupta, P.


    The Indo-Aryans of ancient India observed stars and constellations for ascertaining auspicious times in order to conduct sacrificial rites ordained by the Vedas. Naturally, they would have sighted comets and referred to them in the Vedic texts. In Rigveda (circa 1700-1500 BC) and Atharvaveda (circa 1150 BC), there are references to dhumaketus and ketus, which stand for comets in Sanskrit. Rigveda speaks of a fig tree whose aerial roots spread out in the sky (Parpola 2010). Had this imagery been inspired by the resemblance of a comet's tail with long and linear roots of a banyan tree (ficus benghalensis)? Varahamihira (AD 550) and Ballal Sena (circa AD 1100-1200) described a large number of comets recorded by ancient seers, such as Parashara, Vriddha Garga, Narada, and Garga, to name a few. In this article, we propose that an episode in Mahabharata in which a radiant king, Nahusha, who rules the heavens and later turns into a serpent after he kicked the seer Agastya (also the star Canopus), is a mythological retelling of a cometary event.

  16. Halley's Comet: A Bibliography. (United States)

    Freitag, Ruth S., Comp.

    Included in this bibliography are over 3,200 references to publications on Halley's Comet, its history, orbital motion, and physical characteristics, meteor streams associated with it, preparations for space missions to study it in 1986, and popular reaction to its appearances. Also cited are a few papers that, although they devote little…

  17. Splitting of Comets

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Home; Journals; Resonance – Journal of Science Education; Volume 7; Issue 1. Splitting of Comets. Utpal Mukhopadhyay. General Article Volume 7 Issue 1 January 2002 pp 11-22. Fulltext. Click here to view fulltext PDF. Permanent link: Keywords. Cometary ...

  18. Comet 2001 Q2

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pravec, Petr; Kušnirák, Peter; Bouma, R. J.; Raymundo, P. M.

    č. 7687 (2001), s. 1 ISSN 0081-0304 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/99/0255 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z1003909 Keywords : comets * astrometry Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics

  19. Are large Trojan asteroids salty? An observational, theoretical, and experimental study (United States)

    Yang, Bin; Lucey, Paul; Glotch, Timothy


    With a total mass similar to the main asteroid belt, the jovian Trojan asteroids are a major feature in the Solar System. Based upon the thermal infrared spectra of the largest Trojans obtained with the Spitzer space telescope, Emery et al. (Emery, J.P., Cruikshank, D.P., van Cleve, J. [2006]. Icarus 182, 496) suggested that the surfaces of these Trojans may consist of fine-grained silicates suspended in a transparent matrix. To explore the transparent matrix hypothesis, we adopted a modified radiative transfer model to fit the Trojan spectra simultaneously both in the near and the thermal infrared regions. Our model shows that the Trojan spectra over a wide wavelength range can be consistently explained by fine grained silicates (1-5 wt.%) and highly absorbing material (e.g. carbon or iron, 2-10 wt.%) suspended in a transparent matrix. The matrix is consistent with a deposit of salt on the surfaces of the large Trojans. However, this consistency is not an actual detection of salt and other alternatives may still be possible. We suggest that early in the Solar System history, short-lived radionuclides heated ice-rich Trojans and caused melting, internal circulation of water and dissolution of soluble materials. Briny water volcanism were facilitated by internal volatiles and a possibly global sill of frozen brine was formed beneath the cold primitive crust. The frozen brine layer was likely to be evacuated by impact erosions and evaporation of the exposed brines eventually left a lag deposit of salt. Over the Solar System’s history, fine dust from comets or impacts contaminated and colored these salty surfaces of the Trojans to produce the spectral properties observed today.

  20. A Search of Reactivated Comets (United States)

    Ye, Quan-Zhi


    Dormant or near-dormant short-period comets can unexpectedly regain the ability to eject dust. In many known cases, the resurrection is short-lived and lasts less than one orbit. However, it is possible that some resurrected comets can remain active in later perihelion passages. We search the archival images of various facilities to look for these “reactivated” comets. We identify two candidates, 297P/Beshore and 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, both of which were found to be inactive or weakly active in the previous orbit before their discovery. We derive a reactivation rate of ˜ 0.007 {{comet}}-1 {{orbit}}-1, which implies that typical short-period comets only become temporarily dormant a few times or less. Smaller comets are prone to rotational instability and may undergo temporary dormancy more frequently. Next generation high-cadence surveys may find more reactivation events of these comets.

  1. Cometography a catalog of comets

    CERN Document Server

    Kronk, Gary W; Seargent, David A J


    Cometography is a multi-volume catalog of every comet observed from ancient times up to the 1990s, when the internet took off as a medium of scientific record. It uses the most reliable orbits known to determine the distances from the Earth and Sun at the time of discovery and last observation, as well as the largest and smallest angular distance to the Sun, most northerly and southerly declination, closest distance to the Earth, and other details, to enable the reader to understand each comet's physical appearance. Volume 6, the final volume in the catalog, covers the observations and pertinent calculations for every comet seen between 1983 and 1993. The comets are listed in chronological order, with complete references to publications relating to each comet and physical descriptions of each comet's development throughout its apparition. Cometography is the definitive reference on comets through the ages, for astronomers and historians of science.

  2. Thermal History of Near-Earth Asteroids: Implications for OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return (United States)

    Springmann, Alessondra; Lauretta, Dante S.


    The connection between orbital and temperature history of small Solar System bodies has only been studied through modeling. The upcoming OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission provides an opportunity to connect thermal modeling predictions with laboratory studies of meteorites to predict past heating and thus dynamical histories of bodies such as OSIRIS-REx mission target asteroid (101955) Bennu. Bennu is a desirable target for asteroid sample return due to its inferred primitive nature, likely 4.5 Gyr old, with chemistry and mineralogy established in the first 10 Myr of solar system history (Lauretta et al. 2015). Delbo & Michel (2011) studied connections between the temperature and orbital history of Bennu. Their results suggest that the surface of Bennu (assuming no regolith turnover) has a 50% probability of being heated to 500 K in the past. Further, the Delbo & Michel simulations show that the temperature within the asteroid below the top layer of regolith could remain at temperatures ~100 K below that of the surface. The Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism on OSIRIS-REx could access both the surface and near surface regolith, collecting primitive asteroid material for study in Earth-based laboratories in 2023. To quantify the effects of thermal metamorphism on the Bennu regolith, laboratory heating experiments on carbonaceous chondrite meteorites with compositions likely similar to that of Bennu were conducted from 300-1200 K. These experiments show mobilization and volatilization of a suite of labile elements (sulfur, mercury, arsenic, tellurium, selenium, antimony, and cadmium) at temperatures that could be reached by asteroids that cross Mercury's orbit. We are able to quantify element loss with temperature for several carbonaceous chondrites and use these results to constrain past orbital histories of Bennu. When OSIRIS-REx samples arrive for analysis we will be able to measure labile element loss in the material, determine maximum past

  3. Extrasolar asteroid mining as forensic evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence (United States)

    Forgan, Duncan H.; Elvis, Martin


    The development of civilisations like ours into spacefaring, multi-planet entities requires significant raw materials to construct vehicles and habitats. Interplanetary debris, including asteroids and comets, may provide such a source of raw materials. In this article we present the hypothesis that extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) engaged in asteroid mining may be detectable from Earth. Considering the detected disc of debris around Vega as a template, we explore the observational signatures of targeted asteroid mining (TAM), such as unexplained deficits in chemical species, changes in the size distribution of debris and other thermal signatures which may be detectable in the spectral energy distribution (SED) of a debris disc. We find that individual observational signatures of asteroid mining can be explained by natural phenomena, and as such they cannot provide conclusive detections of ETIs. But, it may be the case that several signatures appearing in the same system will prove harder to model without extraterrestrial involvement. Therefore signatures of TAM are not detections of ETI in their own right, but as part of "piggy-back" studies carried out in tandem with conventional debris disc research, they could provide a means of identifying unusual candidate systems for further study using other SETI techniques.

  4. The asteroid lightcurve database

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Warner, B. D.; Harris, A. W.; Pravec, Petr


    Roč. 202, č. 1 (2009), s. 134-146 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA205/05/0604 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroid s * rotation * photometry Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.340, year: 2009

  5. Triggering the Activation of Main-belt Comets: The Effect of Porosity (United States)

    Haghighipour, N.; Maindl, T. I.; Schäfer, C. M.; Wandel, O. J.


    It has been suggested that the comet-like activity of Main-belt comets (MBCs) is due to the sublimation of sub-surface water-ice that is exposed when these objects are impacted by meter-sized bodies. We recently examined this scenario and showed that such impacts can, in fact, excavate ice and present a plausible mechanism for triggering the activation of MBCs. However, because the purpose of that study was to prove the concept and identify the most viable ice-longevity model, the porosity of the object and the loss of ice due to the heat of impact were ignored. In this paper, we extend our impact simulations to porous materials and account for the loss of ice due to an impact. We show that for a porous MBC, impact craters are deeper, reaching to ∼15 m, implying that if the activation of MBCs is due to the sublimation of sub-surface ice, this ice has to be within the top 15 m of the object. Results also indicate that the loss of ice due to the heat of impact is negligible, and the re-accretion of ejected ice is small. The latter suggests that the activities of current MBCs are most probably from multiple impact sites. Our study also indicates that for sublimation from multiple sites to account for the observed activity of the currently known MBCs, the water content of MBCs (and their parent asteroids) needs to be larger than the values traditionally considered in models of terrestrial planet formation.

  6. Another Option for the Asteroid Sample of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (United States)

    Hou, Xiyun; Tang, Jingshi; Liu, Lin; Xin, Xiaosheng


    The asteroid redirect mission (ARM) consists of two phases: the asteroid redirect robotic mission (ARRM) and the asteroid redirect crewed mission (ARCM). The ARRM phase aims at capturing a boulder from the surface of an asteroid of hundred meters in diameter and returning it back to the Earth-Moon system. Currently, the option for the orbit of the returned sample is a large lunar distant retrograde orbit (LDRO) around the Moon. After the sample is returned to this LDRO, then the ARCM phase will send astronauts to the sample. The total energy cost consists of two parts: (1) from the orbit of an near-Earth asteroid to the LDRO, here as part I; (2) from the parking low Earth orbit (LEO) to the LDRO, here as part II. In the authors' work for stable motions in the real Earth-Moon system, we found that there are stable motions around the triangular libration points (TLP). Theoretically, these orbits can also be used as candidate orbits to hold the returned sample. Our previous preliminary works show that the energy of sending a manned probe from the LEO to these orbits is comparable to the option of sending it from the LEO to the LDRO. Besides, it's also possible for the sample to be returned from the orbit of a near-Earth asteroid to these stable orbits, with very small delta-V corrections. In this work, we'll study the energy cost of this option (i.e., using the stable orbits around the TLP as the orbits for the asteroid sample) in detail and compare this option with the LDRO option.

  7. 67P, Singing Comet (United States)

    Smirnova, Ekaterina


    I would like to propose to present a short science-art-music collaboration film called "67P, Singing Comet" (5:27 min). If time of the session will allow, prior to the film I would like to make a slide show introduction to this project, highlighting the inspiration - the mission Rosetta by the European Space Agency (ESA) - and the artistic collaboration that took place in creating this piece. Inspired by the ESA Rosetta mission to the comet 67P, Ekaterina Smirnova (artist and project director, New York), Lee Mottram (clarinetist, Wales), Takuto Fukuda (composer, Japan) and Brian Hekker (video editor, New York) collaborated to create a unique atmospheric piece. Water and the origins of life throughout the Universe (specifically the Earth) is an element of the mission and the focus of Ekaterina's artistic vision. Ekaterina literally and figuratively paints a sensory assemblage using a combination of synthetic and natural elements to shape this artistic creation. To paint her watercolor works she is using a replica of the water found on the comet and implementing her own heartbeat into the music to create a recognizable inward sound of life. The Electro-Acoustic composition by Takuto Fukuda features an electronically manipulated performance by clarinetist Lee Mottram. The piece ceremoniously begins with reverberant bursts of low-register atonal bells transporting the listener to their ethereal inner origins of body and mind. The imagination takes the experience to an unknown destination as it gains speed gliding through the visual and audible textures of space and time. The comet's water similarly reacts with an ebb and flow thawing ice to potentially give life a chance as it is thrust along an orbit around the Sun. Near then far from the heat the comet forms frozen particles from vapors as it reaches it's furthest stretches creating an aerodynamic tail of icicles that slowly dissipate in a cycle that repeats itself until the comet's ultimate collision with an

  8. Fluorescent in situ hybridization on comets: FISH comet. (United States)

    Shaposhnikov, Sergey; El Yamani, Naouale; Collins, Andrew R


    The DNA in eukaryotic cells is organized into loop domains that represent basic structural and functional units of chromatin packaging. The comet assay, a sensitive method for monitoring DNA damage and repair, involves electrophoresis of nucleoids comprising supercoiled DNA attached to the nuclear matrix. Breaks in the DNA relax the supercoiling and allow DNA loops to expand, and on electrophoresis to move towards the anode, giving the appearance of a comet tail. We use fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to investigate the structure of the chromatin within comet preparations and to study specific DNA sequences within comets. In this chapter we describe our FISH comets protocols, deal with some technical questions and outline the theory. FISH with comets should be useful to researchers interested in the structural organization of DNA and chromatin, the localization of DNA damage, and the kinetics of repair of damage.

  9. UV Reflectance of Jupiter's Moon Europa and Asteroid (16) Psyche (United States)

    Becker, T. M.; Retherford, K. D.; Roth, L.; Hendrix, A.; McGrath, M. A.; Cunningham, N.; Feaga, L. M.; Saur, J.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Walhund, J. E.; Molyneux, P.


    Surface reflectance observations of solar system objects in the UV are not only complimentary to longer wavelength observations for identifying surface composition, but can also reveal new and meaningful information about the surfaces of those bodies. On Europa, far-UV (FUV) spectral observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) show that the surface lacks a strong water ice absorption edge near 165 nm, which is intriguing because such a band has been detected on most icy satellites. This may suggest that radiolytic processing by Jupiter's magnetosphere has altered the surface, causing absorption at wavelengths longward of the H2O edge, masking this feature. Additionally, the FUV spectra are blue (increasing albedo with shorter wavelengths), and regions that are observed to be dark in the visible appear bright in the FUV. This spectral inversion, also observed on the Moon and some asteroids, may provide insight into the properties of the surface material and how they are processed.We also explore the UV reflectance spectra of the main belt asteroid (16) Psyche. This asteroid is believed to be the metallic remnant core of a differentiated asteroid, stripped of its mantle through collisions. However, there is speculation that the asteroid could have formed as-is from highly reduced metal-rich material near the Sun early in the formation of the solar system. Further, spectral observations in the infrared have revealed pyroxene and hydroxyl on the asteroid's surface, complicating the interpretation that (16) Psyche is a pure metallic object. Laboratory studies indicate that there are diagnostic spectral features in the UV that could be useful for determining the surface composition. We obtained HST observations of Psyche from 160 - 300 nm. Preliminary results show a featureless, red-sloped spectrum, inconsistent with significant amounts of pyroxene on the surface. We will present the spectra of Europa and the asteroid (16) Psyche and discuss the unique details

  10. Seasonal effects on the nucleus of comet 67P revealed by Rosetta/VIRTIS (United States)

    Tosi, Federico; Capaccioni, Fabrizio; Filacchione, Gianrico; Erard, Stéphane; Rouseeau, Batiste; Combe, Jean-Philippe; Capria, Maria Teresa; Leyrat, Cédric; Longobardo, Andrea; Bockelée-Morvan, Dominique; Kappel, David; Arnold, Gabriele; Fonti, Sergio; Mancarella, Francesca; Kuehrt, Ekkehard; Mottola, Stefano


    We describe thermal effects on the nucleus of comet 67P. Due to the overall low thermal inertia of the nucleus surface, the surface temperature is essentially dominated by the instantaneous value of the solar incidence angle and the heliocentric distance. However, for each location, the smallest achievable value of insolation angle depends on the season and topography. Given the substantial obliquity of comet 67P, seasons are such that the northern hemisphere is mainly illuminated at aphelion while the southern hemisphere receives most insolation soon after perihelion. In addition, the heliocentric distance strongly affects the surface temperature, all other parameters being equal. This is a larger effect in comets than in asteroids, due to the wide range of heliocentric distance values spanned by comets. When Rosetta started its global mapping observation campaign, in early August 2014, hyperspectral images acquired by the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer onboard the Rosetta Orbiter covered only the northern regions of the cometary surface, and the equatorial belt became gradually unveiled, while the southern region has been revealed from 2015 onwards. In parallel, the comet's heliocentric distance has been decreasing from ˜3.6 AU down to 1.24 AU, the distance at which the perihelion passage occurred on 13 August 2015. By relating surface temperatures as measured by VIRTIS to three variables: solar incidence angle, true local solar time and heliocentric distance, we aim to separate the relative contributions due to season and to the heliocentric distance. To do this, we use both VIRTIS-M data (namely data from the mapping spectrometer covering the 1-5 μm range, available up to April 2015, i.e. before the failure of the IR cryocooler) and VIRTIS-H data (namely data from the high-resolution point spectrometer covering the 2-5 μm range), and we focus in particular on three regions: one in the northern hemisphere, one in the equatorial region and one in the southern

  11. CINE: Comet INfrared Excitation (United States)

    de Val-Borro, Miguel; Cordiner, Martin A.; Milam, Stefanie N.; Charnley, Steven B.


    CINE calculates infrared pumping efficiencies that can be applied to the most common molecules found in cometary comae such as water, hydrogen cyanide or methanol. One of the main mechanisms for molecular excitation in comets is the fluorescence by the solar radiation followed by radiative decay to the ground vibrational state. This command-line tool calculates the effective pumping rates for rotational levels in the ground vibrational state scaled by the heliocentric distance of the comet. Fluorescence coefficients are useful for modeling rotational emission lines observed in cometary spectra at sub-millimeter wavelengths. Combined with computational methods to solve the radiative transfer equations based, e.g., on the Monte Carlo algorithm, this model can retrieve production rates and rotational temperatures from the observed emission spectrum.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    A' Hearn, Michael F.; Feaga, Lori M.; Sunshine, Jessica M.; Besse, Sebastien; Bodewits, Dennis; Farnham, Tony L.; Kelley, Michael S. [Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States); Keller, H. Uwe [Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics, Technische Universitaet Braunschweig, D-38106 Braunschweig (Germany); Kawakita, Hideyo [Department of Physics, Kyoto Sangyo University, Kamigamo JP Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8555 (Japan); Hampton, Donald L. [Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775 (United States); Kissel, Jochen [Max-Planck-Institut for Solar System Research, Max-Planck-Strasse 2, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau (Germany); Klaasen, Kenneth P.; Yeomans, Donald K. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); McFadden, Lucy A. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Meech, Karen J. [Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Schultz, Peter H. [Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912 (United States); Thomas, Peter C.; Veverka, Joseph [Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 (United States); Groussin, Olivier [Laboratoire d' Astrophysique de Marseille, Universite d' Aix-Marseille and CNRS, UMR7326, 38 rue F. Joliot-Curie, F-13388 Marseille Cedex 13 (France); Lisse, Carey M., E-mail: [Space Department, JHU-APL, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723 (United States); and others


    We describe recent results on the CO/CO{sub 2}/H{sub 2}O composition of comets together with a survey of older literature (primarily for CO/H{sub 2}O) and compare these with models of the protoplanetary disk. Even with the currently small sample, there is a wide dispersion in abundance ratios and little if any systematic difference between Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) and long-period and Halley-type comets (LPCs and HTCs). We argue that the cometary observations require reactions on grain surfaces to convert CO to CO{sub 2} and also require formation of all types of comets in largely, but not entirely, overlapping regions, probably between the CO and CO{sub 2} snow lines. Any difference in the regions of formation is in the opposite direction from the classical picture with the JFCs having formed closer to the Sun than the LPCs. In the classical picture, the LPCs formed in the region of the giant planets and the JFCs formed in the Kuiper Belt. However, these data suggest, consistent with suggestions on dynamical grounds, that the JFCs and LPCs formed in largely overlapping regions where the giant planets are today and with JFCs on average forming slightly closer to the Sun than did the LPCs. Presumably at least the JFCs passed through the scattered disk on their way to their present dynamical family.

  13. Comet 81P/Wild 2 under a microscope

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brownlee, D; Tsou, P; Aleon, J; Alexander, C; Araki, T; Bajt, S; Baratta, G A; Bastien, R; Bland, P; Bleuet, P; Borg, J; Bradley, J P; Brearley, A; Brenker, F; Brennan, S; Bridges, J C; Browning, N; Brucato, J R; Bullock, E; Burchell, M J; Busemann, H; Butterworth, A; Chaussidon, M; Cheuvront, A; Chi, M; Cintala, M J; Clark, B C; Clemett, S J; Cody, G; Colangeli, L; Cooper, G; Cordier, P; Daghlian, C; Dai, Z R; D' Hendecourt, L; Djouadi, Z; Dominguez, G; Duxbury, T; Dworkin, J P; Ebel, D; Economou, T E; Fairey, S J; Fallon, S; Ferrini, G; Ferroir, T; Fleckenstein, H; Floss, C; Flynn, G; Franchi, I A; Fries, M; Gainsforth, Z; Gallien, J; Genge, M; Gilles, M K; Gillet, P; Gilmour, J; Glavin, D P; Gounelle, M; Grady, M M; Graham, G A; Grant, P G; Green, S F; Grossemy, F; Grossman, L; Grossman, J; Guan, Y; Hagiya, K; Harvey, R; Heck, P; Herzog, G F; Hoppe, P; Horz, F; Huth, J; Hutcheon, I D; Ishii, H; Ito, M; Jacob, D; Jacobsen, C; Jacobsen, S; Joswiak, D; Kearsley, A T; Keller, L; Khodja, H; Kilcoyne, A D; Kissel, J; Krot, A; Langenhorst, F; Lanzirotti, A; Le, L; Leshin, L; Leitner, J; Lemelle, L; Leroux, H; Liu, M; Luening, K; Lyon, I; MacPherson, G; Marcus, M A; Marhas, K; Matrajt, G; Meibom, A; Mennella, V; Messenger, K; Mikouchi, T; Mostefaoui, S; Nakamura, T; Nakano, T; Newville, M; Nittler, L R; Ohnishi, I; Ohsumi, K; Okudaira, K; Papanastassiou, D A; Palma, R; Palumbo, M E; Pepin, R O; Perkins, D; Perronnet, M; Pianetta, P; Rao, W; Rietmeijer, F; Robert, F; Rost, D; Rotundi, A; Ryan, R; Sandford, S A; Schwandt, C S; See, T H; Schlutter, D; Sheffield-Parker, J; Simionovici, A; Simon, S; Sitnitsky, I; Snead, C J; Spencer, M K; Stadermann, F J; Steele, A; Stephan, T; Stroud, R; Susini, J; Sutton, S R; Taheri, M; Taylor, S; Teslich, N; Tomeoka, K; Tomioka, N; Toppani, A; Trigo-Rodriguez, J M; Troadec, D; Tsuchiyama, A; Tuzolino, A J; Tyliszczak, T; Uesugi, K; Velbel, M; Vellenga, J; Vicenzi, E; Vincze, L; Warren, J; Weber, I; Weisberg, M; Westphal, A J; Wirick, S; Wooden, D; Wopenka, B; Wozniakiewicz, P; Wright, I; Yabuta, K; Yano, H; Young, E D; Zare, R N; Zega, T


    The Stardust spacecraft collected thousands of particles from comet 81P/Wild 2 and returned them to Earth for laboratory study. The preliminary examination of these samples shows that the nonvolatile portion of the comet is an unequilibrated assortment of materials that have both presolar and solar system origin. The comet contains an abundance of silicate grains that are much larger than predictions of interstellar grain models, and many of these are high-temperature minerals that appear to have formed in the inner regions of the solar nebula. Their presence in a comet proves that the formation of the solar system included mixing on the grandest scales. Stardust was the first mission to return solid samples from a specific astronomical body other than the Moon. The mission, part of the NASA Discovery program, retrieved samples from a comet that is believed to have formed at the outer fringe of the solar nebula, just beyond the most distant planet. The samples, isolated from the planetary region of the solar system for billions of years, provide new insight into the formation of the solar system. The samples provide unprecedented opportunities both to corroborate astronomical (remote sensing) and sample analysis information (ground truth) on a known primitive solar system body and to compare preserved building blocks from the edge of the planetary system with sample-derived and astronomical data for asteroids, small bodies that formed more than an order of magnitude closer to the Sun. The asteroids, parents of most meteorites, formed by accretion of solids in warmer, denser, more collisionally evolved inner regions of the solar nebula where violent nebular events were capable of flash-melting millimeter-sized rocks, whereas comets formed in the coldest, least dense region. The samples collected by Stardust are the first primitive materials from a known body, and as such they provide contextual insight for all primitive meteoritic samples. About 200 investigators

  14. Comets and their origin the tools to decipher a comet

    CERN Document Server

    Meierhenrich, Uwe


    Divided into two parts, the first four chapters of Comets and their Origin refer to comets and their formation in general, describing cometary missions, comet remote observations, astrochemistry, artificial comets, and the chirality phenomenon.The second part covers the cometary Rosetta mission, its launch, journey, scientific objectives, and instrumentations, as well as the landing scenario on a cometary nucleus. Along the way, the author presents general questions concerning the origin of terrestrial water and the molecular beginnings of lifeon Earth, as well as how the instruments used on


    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shou, Y.; Combi, M.; Gombosi, T.; Toth, G.; Jia, Y.-D.; Rubin, M.


    On 2007 January 12, comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) passed its perihelion at 0.17 AU. Abundant remote observations offer plenty of information on the neutral composition and neutral velocities within 1 million kilometers of the comet nucleus. In early February, the Ulysses spacecraft made an in situ measurement of the ion composition, plasma velocity, and magnetic field when passing through the distant ion tail and the ambient solar wind. The measurement by Ulysses was made when the comet was at around 0.8 AU. With the constraints provided by remote and in situ observations, we simulated the plasma environment of Comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) using a multi-species comet MHD model over a wide range of heliocentric distances from 0.17 to 1.75 AU. The solar wind interaction of the comet at various locations is characterized and typical subsolar standoff distances of the bow shock and contact surface are presented and compared to analytic solutions. We find the variation in the bow shock standoff distances at different heliocentric distances is smaller than the contact surface. In addition, we modified the multi-species model for the case when the comet was at 0.7 AU and achieved comparable water group ion abundances, proton densities, plasma velocities, and plasma temperatures to the Ulysses/SWICS and SWOOPS observations. We discuss the dominating chemical reactions throughout the comet-solar wind interaction region and demonstrate the link between the ion composition near the comet and in the distant tail as measured by Ulysses


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shou, Y.; Combi, M.; Gombosi, T.; Toth, G. [Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States); Jia, Y.-D. [IGPP, and EPSS, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States); Rubin, M. [Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse. 5, CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland)


    On 2007 January 12, comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) passed its perihelion at 0.17 AU. Abundant remote observations offer plenty of information on the neutral composition and neutral velocities within 1 million kilometers of the comet nucleus. In early February, the Ulysses spacecraft made an in situ measurement of the ion composition, plasma velocity, and magnetic field when passing through the distant ion tail and the ambient solar wind. The measurement by Ulysses was made when the comet was at around 0.8 AU. With the constraints provided by remote and in situ observations, we simulated the plasma environment of Comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught) using a multi-species comet MHD model over a wide range of heliocentric distances from 0.17 to 1.75 AU. The solar wind interaction of the comet at various locations is characterized and typical subsolar standoff distances of the bow shock and contact surface are presented and compared to analytic solutions. We find the variation in the bow shock standoff distances at different heliocentric distances is smaller than the contact surface. In addition, we modified the multi-species model for the case when the comet was at 0.7 AU and achieved comparable water group ion abundances, proton densities, plasma velocities, and plasma temperatures to the Ulysses/SWICS and SWOOPS observations. We discuss the dominating chemical reactions throughout the comet-solar wind interaction region and demonstrate the link between the ion composition near the comet and in the distant tail as measured by Ulysses.

  17. Some Dynamic Characteristics of Binary Near-Earth Asteroids

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivanenko, N.V.


    Full Text Available Tidal acceleration exerted by the terrestrial planets and Jupiter’s are determined, orbital resonances to evaluate the motion stability in binary asteroid systems are calculated. Radius of the Hill sphere surrounding the main component in approximation of the planetary three-body problem — the Sun-main component-satellite is calculated. Escape velocities from the surface of the asteroid satellites are found and the conclusion on the possibility of substance loss is made.

  18. A radar survey of M- and X-class asteroids

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Shepard, M.K.; Clark, B. E.; Nolan, M. C.; Howell, E. S.; Magri, C.; Giorgini, J. D.; Benner, L. A. M.; Ostro, S. J.; Harris, A. W.; Warner, B. D.; Pray, D. P.; Pravec, Petr; Fauerbach, M.; Bennett, T.; Klotz, A.; Behrend, R.; Correia, H.; Coloma, J.M.; Casulli, S.; Rivkin, A. S.


    Roč. 195, č. 1 (2008), s. 184-205 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA205/05/0604 Grant - others:NSF(US) AST-0605903; NSF(US) AST-0606704; NSF(US) AST-0607505; NASA (US) NNG06GI32G Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroids * asteroids composition * surfaces Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.268, year: 2008

  19. Silicates in Alien Asteroids (United States)


    This plot of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescopes shows that asteroid dust around a dead 'white dwarf' star contains silicates a common mineral on Earth. The data were taken primarily by Spitzer's infrared spectrograph, an instrument that breaks light apart into its basic constituents. The yellow dots show averaged data from the spectrograph, while the orange triangles show older data from Spitzer's infrared array camera. The white dwarf is called GD 40.

  20. The Rafita asteroid family (United States)

    Aljbaae, S.; Carruba, V.; Masiero, J. R.; Domingos, R. C.; Huaman, M.


    The Rafita asteroid family is an S-type group located in the middle main belt, on the right-hand side of the 3J:-1A mean-motion resonance. The proximity of this resonance to the family left-hand side in the semimajor axis caused many former family members to be lost. As a consequence, the family shape in the (a, 1/D) domain is quite asymmetrical, with a preponderance of objects on the right-hand side of the distribution. The Rafita family is also characterized by a leptokurtic distribution in inclination, which allows the use of methods of family age estimation recently introduced for other leptokurtic families such as Astrid, Hansa, Gallia and Barcelona. In this work, we propose a new method based on the behaviour of an asymmetry coefficient function of the distribution in the (a, 1/D) plane to date incomplete asteroid families such as Rafita. By monitoring the time behaviour of this coefficient for asteroids simulating the initial conditions at the time of the family formation, we were able to estimate that the Rafita family should have an age of 490 ± 200 Myr, in good agreement with results from independent methods such as Monte Carlo simulations of Yarkovsky and YORP dynamical induced evolution and the time behaviour of the kurtosis of the sin (I) distribution. Asteroids from the Rafita family can reach orbits similar to 8 per cent of the currently known near-Earth objects. During the final 10 Myr of the simulation, ≃1 per cent of the simulated objects are present in NEO space, and thus would be comparable to objects in the present-day NEO population.

  1. Asteroids from a Martian Mega Impact (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    Like evidence left at a crime scene, the mineral olivine may be the clue that helps scientists piece together Marss possibly violent history. Could a long-ago giant impact have flung pieces of Mars throughout our inner solar system? Two researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan are on the case.A Telltale MineralOlivine, a mineral that is common in Earths subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface. Olivine is a major component of Marss upper mantle. [Wilson44691]Olivine is a major component of the Martian upper mantle, making up 60% of this region by weight. Intriguingly, olivine turns up in other places in our solar system too for instance, in seven out of the nine known Mars Trojans (a group of asteroids of unknown origin that share Marss orbit), and in the rare A-type asteroids orbiting in the main asteroid belt.How did these asteroids form, and why are they so olivine-rich? An interesting explanation has been postulated: perhaps this olivine all came from the same place Mars as the result of a mega impact billions of years ago.Evidence for ImpactMars bears plenty of signs pointing to a giant impact in its past. The northern and sourthern hemispheres of Mars look very different, a phenomenon referred to as the Mars hemisphere dichotomy. The impact of a Pluto-sized body could explain the smooth Borealis Basin that covers the northern 40% of Marss surface.This high-resolution topographic map of Mars reveals the dichotomy between its northern and sourthern hemispheres. The smooth region in the northern hemisphere, the Borealis basin, may have been formed when a giant object impacted Mars billions of years ago. [NASA/JPL/USGS]Other evidence piles up: Marss orbit location, its rotation speed, the presence of its two moons all could be neatly explained by a large impact around 4 billion years ago. Could such an impact have also strewn debris from Marss mantle across the solar system?To test this theory, we need to determine if a mega impact is

  2. A new proxy of comet impacts? (United States)

    Kasatkina, E.; Shumilov, O.; Lukina, N.

    Environmental consequences of impacts by comets and asteroids depend on their sizes. The impact of 10 km sized asteroid killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A comet impact in AD 536 (>500 m diameter) caused a global climatic downturn. An impact of Tunguska-sized (50 m diameter) object (TO) could devastate a 2000 km -2 forest area, roughly the size of Moscow or New York. Among some misteries of the Tunguska event an important role plays the cause of the accelerated tree growth after 1908 in the catastrophe area. The main explanation is that an accelerated growth of old trees is a result of decrease of the level of competition due to falling of trees. We analyzed tree rings in larch samples collected in the Taymir region of Northern Siberia (72N; 105E) at a distance of about 1500 km to the North from the Tunguska catastrophe epicenter (61N; 102E). It was found that tree ring growth is 150% higher in 1908. We also analyzed all available Siberian tree-ring series (more than 100). It was found that there is a considerable increase of tree ring growth in 1908 over a huge area of Siberia (60N-75N; 60E-110E). It is obvious that the above mentioned interpretation could hardly explain the effect observed. Most likely the tree growth was stimulated by the TO matter spreaded over a large territory of Eurasia and introduced into the soil. It is generally believed that meteorites and comets delivered large amounts of organic to the early Earth. Another hypothesis is connected to NO produced during the Tunguska event. The cometary (probably fragment of the comet Enke) tail started to influence the Earth atmosphere several days before the fall of the meteorite causing optical anomalies observed mainly to the West from the place of TO explosion (Western Siberia, European Russia, Northern Europe). It is interesting that we've discovered nearly the similar, but smaller (about 50%) increase of tree ring growth connected to the Chulym bolide impact in 1984. The Chulym bolide

  3. ASTER: A Brazilian Mission to an Asteroid. (United States)

    Winter, O. C.; Macau, E. E. N.; de Campos Velho, H.; Carruba, V.


    The first Brazilian mission to an asteroid is being planned. The target is the asteroid 2001 SN263, which has a NEA orbit of class AMOR. The mission is scheduled to be launched in 2015, reaching the asteroid in 2019.

  4. The Comet Radar Explorer Mission (United States)

    Asphaug, Erik; Belton, Mike; Bockelee-Morvan, Dominique; Chesley, Steve; Delbo, Marco; Farnham, Tony; Gim, Yonggyu; Grimm, Robert; Herique, Alain; Kofman, Wlodek; Oberst, Juergen; Orosei, Roberto; Piqueux, Sylvain; Plaut, Jeff; Robinson, Mark; Sava, Paul; Heggy, Essam; Kurth, William; Scheeres, Dan; Denevi, Brett; Turtle, Elizabeth; Weissman, Paul


    Missions to cometary nuclei have revealed major geological surprises: (1) Global scale layers - do these persist through to the interior? Are they a record of primary accretion? (2) Smooth regions - are they landslides originating on the surface? Are they cryovolcanic? (3) Pits - are they impact craters or sublimation pits, or rooted in the interior? Unambiguous answers to these and other questions can be obtained by high definition 3D radar reflection imaging (RRI) of internal structure. RRI can answer many of the great unknowns in planetary science: How do primitive bodies accrete? Are cometary nuclei mostly ice? What drives their spectacular activity and evolution? The Comet Radar Explorer (CORE) mission will image the detailed internal structure of the nucleus of 10P/Tempel 2. This ~16 x 8 x 7 km Jupiter Family Comet (JFC), or its parent body, originated in the outer planets region possibly millions of years before planet formation. CORE arrives post-perihelion and observes the comet’s waning activity from safe distance. Once the nucleus is largely dormant, the spacecraft enters a ~20-km dedicated Radar Mapping Orbit (RMO). The exacting design of the RRI experiment and the precise navigation of RMO will achieve a highly focused 3D radar reflection image of internal structure, to tens of meters resolution, and tomographic images of velocity and attenuation to hundreds of meters resolution, tied to the gravity model and shape. Visible imagers will produce maps of the surface morphology, albedo, color, texture, and photometric response, and images for navigation and shape determination. The cameras will also monitor the structure and dynamics of the coma, and its dusty jets, allowing their correlation in 3D with deep interior structures and surface features. Repeated global high-resolution thermal images will probe the near-surface layers heated by the Sun. Derived maps of thermal inertia will be correlated with the radar boundary response, and photometry and

  5. A direct observation the asteroid's structure from deep interior to regolith: why and how do it? (United States)

    Herique, A.; Kofman, W. W.


    The internal structure of asteroids is still poorly known and has never been measured directly. Our knowledge is relying entirely on inferences from remote sensing observations of the surface, and theoretical modeling. Is the body a monolithic piece of rock or a rubble-pile, an aggregate of boulders held together by gravity and how much porosity it contains, both in the form of micro-scale or macro-scale porosity? What is the typical size of the constituent blocs? Are these blocs homogeneous or heterogeneous? Is the body a defunct or dormant comet and such MBC can become active? The body is covered by a regolith from whose properties remains largely unknown in term of depth, size distribution and spatial variation. Is resulting from fine particles re-accretion or from thermal fracturing? What are its coherent forces? How to model is thermal conductivity while this parameter is so important to estimate Yarkowsky and Yorp effects? Knowing asteroid deep interior and regolith structure is a key point for a better understanding of the asteroid accretion and dynamical evolution. There is no way to determine this from ground-based observation. Radar operating from a spacecraft is the only technique capable of achieving this science objective of characterizing the internal structure and heterogeneity from submetric to global scale for the science benefit as well as for the planetary defence and human exploration. The deep interior structure tomography requires low-frequency radar to penetrate throughout the complete body. The radar wave propagation delay and the received power are related to the complex dielectric permittivity (i.e to the composition and microporosity) and the small scale heterogeneities (scattering losses) while the spatial variation of the signal and the multiple paths provide information on the presence of heterogeneities (variations in composition or porosity), layers, ice lens. A partial coverage will provide "cuts" of the body when a dense coverage

  6. Long-period comet impact risk mitigation with Earth-based laser arrays (United States)

    Zhang, Qicheng; Lubin, Philip M.; Hughes, Gary B.


    Long-period comets (LPCs) frequently transit the inner solar system, and like near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), pose a continued risk of impact with Earth. Unlike NEAs, LPCs follow nearly parabolic trajectories and approach from the distant outer solar system where they cannot be observed. An LPC on an Earth-impact trajectory is unlikely to be discovered more than a few years in advance of its arrival, even with significant advancements in sky survey detection capabilities, likely leaving insufficient time to develop and deliver an interception mission to deflect the comet. However, recent proposals have called for the development of one or more large ˜ 1 km laser arrays placed on or near Earth primarily as a means for photon propulsion of low-mass spacecraft at delta-v above what would be feasible by traditional chemical or ion propulsion methods. Such a laser array can also be directed to target and heat a threatening comet, sublimating its ices and activating jets of dust and vapor which alter the comet's trajectory in a manner similar to rocket propulsion. Simulations of directed energy comet deflection were previously developed from astrometric models of nongravitational orbital perturbations from solar heating, an analogous process that has been observed in numerous comets. These simulations are used together with the distribution of known LPC trajectories to evaluate the effect of an operational Earth-based laser array on the LPC impact risk.

  7. Technical manual for COMET

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Song, Jin Ho; Kwon, Young Min; Kim, Taek Mo; Lee, Sang Jong; Jeong, Hae Yong


    The purpose of this report is to provide a description for a COMET computer code which is to be used in the analysis of mass and energy releases during post-blowdown phase of LOCA. The mass and energy data re to be used as input data for the containment functional design. This report contains a brief description of analytical models and guidelines for the usage of the computer code. This computer code is to be used for both cold leg and hot leg break analyses. A verification analyses are performed for Ulchin 3 and 4 cold and hot leg break. 11 figs (Author)

  8. Physics of comets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Swamy, K.S.K.


    This book deals systematically with the physics of comets in the light of our present knowledge about various aspects of cometary phenomena and the problems that require further attention. The basic aspects, methods and models that have been used extensively at the present time for the interpretation of cometary observations are fully discussed. Contents: General Introduction; Orbital Dynamics; Atomic Physics; Spectra; Spectra of Coma; Gas Production Rates; Dust Tail; Light Scattering Theory; Nature of the Dust Particle; Ion Tails; Nucleus; Origins; Problems and Prospects

  9. Main-belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) (United States)

    Hsieh, Henry H.; Kaluna, Heather M.; Novaković, Bojan; Yang, Bin; Haghighipour, Nader; Micheli, Marco; Denneau, Larry; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Jedicke, Robert; Kleyna, Jan; Vereš, Peter; Wainscoat, Richard J.; Ansdell, Megan; Elliott, Garrett T.; Keane, Jacqueline V.; Meech, Karen J.; Moskovitz, Nicholas A.; Riesen, Timm E.; Sheppard, Scott S.; Sonnett, Sarah; Tholen, David J.; Urban, Laurie; Kaiser, Nick; Chambers, K. C.; Burgett, William S.; Magnier, Eugene A.; Morgan, Jeffrey S.; Price, Paul A.


    We present initial results from observations and numerical analyses aimed at characterizing the main-belt comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS). Optical monitoring observations were made between 2012 October and 2013 February using the University of Hawaii 2.2 m telescope, the Keck I telescope, the Baade and Clay Magellan telescopes, Faulkes Telescope South, the Perkins Telescope at Lowell Observatory, and the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope. The object's intrinsic brightness approximately doubles from the time of its discovery in early October until mid-November and then decreases by ~60% between late December and early February, similar to photometric behavior exhibited by several other main-belt comets and unlike that exhibited by disrupted asteroid (596) Scheila. We also used Keck to conduct spectroscopic searches for CN emission as well as absorption at 0.7 μm that could indicate the presence of hydrated minerals, finding an upper limit CN production rate of Q CN 100 Myr and is unlikely to be a recently implanted interloper from the outer solar system, while a search for potential asteroid family associations reveals that it is dynamically linked to the ~155 Myr old Lixiaohua asteroid family. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation, the Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, which is a joint project of the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, e Inovação (MCTI) da República Federativa do Brasil, the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Michigan State University (MSU).

  10. Inside look at Halley's comet

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Beatty, J.K.


    The 1985-1986 emergence of Halley's comet, the first since the advent of the space age, was explored by a variety of spacecraft. The Vega 1, launched by the USSR together with the Eastern-block alliance, passed 5523 miles from the comet's nucleus at 7:20:06 Universal time. It indicated that the comet was about 300 miles closer to the sun than had been predicted. The Japanese spacecraft, Suisei, was created to map the distribution of neutral hydrogen atoms outside Halley's visible coma. Its pictures indicated that the comet's output of water varied between 25 and 60 tons per second. Five days after the Vega 2's passage through the comet, the Giotto (sponsored by the European Space Agency) probe appeared. Giotto's close approach took place 3.1 minutes after midnight UT on March 14th; the craft had passed 376 miles from its target. Giotto's data indicated that the nucleus was bigger than expected, and that the comet was composed primarily of water, CO2 and N2. The Vegas and Giotto found that as the solar wind approaches Halley, it slows gradually and the solar magnetic lines embedded in the wind begin to pile up. Pick-up ions, from the comet's halo of neutral hydrogen, were found in this solar wind. Sensors on the Vega spacecraft found a variety of plasma waves propagating inside the bow wave. In order to synthesize all the results, a conference on the exploration of Halley's comet will be held this October

  11. Detecting active comets with SDSS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Solontoi, Michael; Ivezic, Zeljko; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; West, Andrew A.; /MIT, MKI; Claire, Mark; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; Juric, Mario; /Princeton U. Observ.; Becker, Andrew; Jones, Lynne; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept.; Hall, Patrick B.; /York U., Canada; Kent, Steve; /Fermilab; Lupton, Robert H.; /Princeton U. Observ.; Quinn, Tom; /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept. /Princeton U. Observ.


    Using a sample of serendipitously discovered active comets in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), we develop well-controlled selection criteria for greatly increasing the efficiency of comet identification in the SDSS catalogs. After follow-up visual inspection of images to reject remaining false positives, the total sample of SDSS comets presented here contains 19 objects, roughly one comet per 10 million other SDSS objects. The good understanding of selection effects allows a study of the population statistics, and we estimate the apparent magnitude distribution to r {approx} 18, the ecliptic latitude distribution, and the comet distribution in SDSS color space. The most surprising results are the extremely narrow range of colors for comets in our sample (e.g. root-mean-square scatter of only {approx}0.06 mag for the g-r color), and the similarity of comet colors to those of jovian Trojans. We discuss the relevance of our results for upcoming deep multi-epoch optical surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey, Pan-STARRS, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and estimate that LSST may produce a sample of about 10,000 comets over its 10-year lifetime.

  12. Development of a miniature scanning electron microscope for in-flight analysis of comet dust (United States)

    Conley, J. M.; Bradley, J. G.; Giffin, C. E.; Albee, A. L.; Tomassian, A. D.


    A description is presented of an instrument which was developed with the original goal of being flown on the International Comet Mission, scheduled for a 1985 launch. The Scanning Electron Microscope and Particle Analyzer (SEMPA) electron miniprobe is a miniaturized electrostatically focused electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray analyzer for in-flight analysis of comet dust particles. It was designed to be flown on board a comet rendezvous spacecraft. Other potential applications are related to asteroid rendezvous and planetary lander missions. According to the development objectives, SEMPA miniprobe is to have the capability for imaging and elemental analysis of particles in the size range of 0.25 microns and larger.

  13. Multiwavelength Observations of Recent Comets (United States)

    Milam, Stefanie N.; Charnley, Steven B.; Gicquel, Adeline; Cordiner, Martin; Kuan, Yi-Jehng; Chuang, Yo-Ling; Villanueva, Geronimo; DiSanti, Michael A.; Bonev, Boncho P.; Remijan, Anthony J.; hide


    Comets provide important clues to the physical and chemical processes that occurred during the formation and early evolution of the Solar System, and could also have been important for initiating prebiotic chemistry on the early Earth. Comets are comprised of molecular ices, that may be pristine inter-stellar remnants of Solar System formation, along with high-temperature crystalline silicate dust that is indicative of a more thermally varied history in the protosolar nebula. Comparing abundances of cometary parent volatiles, and isotopic fractionation ratios, to those found in the interstellar medium, in disks around young stars, and between cometary families, is vital to understanding planetary system formation and the processing history experienced by organic matter in the so-called interstellar-comet connection. We will present a comparison of molecular abundances in these comets to those observed in others, supporting a long-term effort of building a comet taxonomy based on composition.

  14. Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking with the Maui Space Surveillance System (NEAT/MSSS) (United States)

    Helin, Eleanor F.; Pravdo, Steven H.; Lawrence, Kenneth J.; Hicks, Michael D.


    Over the last year the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program has made significant progress and now consists of two simultaneously-operating, autonomous search systems on the 1.2-m (48") telescopes: on the Maui Space Surveillance System (NEAT/MSSS) and NEAT/Palomar on the Palomar Observatory's Oschin telescope. This paper will focus exclusively on the NEAT/MSSS system. NEAT/MSSS is operated as a partnership between NASA/JPL and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), utilizing the AFRL 1.2-m telescope on the 3000-m summit of Haleakala, Maui, The USAF Space Command (SPCMD) contributed financial support to build and install the 'NEAT focal reducer' on the MSSS 1.2-m telescope giving it a large field of view (2.5 square degrees), suitable for the near-earth object (NEO),both asteroids and comets, survey. This work was completed in February 2000. AFRL has made a commitment to NEAT/MSSS that allows NEAT to operate full time with the understanding that AFRL participate as partners in NEAT/MSSS and have use of the NEAT camera system for high priority satellite observations during bright time (parts of 12 nights each month). Currently, NEAT has discovered 42 NEAs including 12 larger than 1-km, 5 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), 6 comets, and nearly 25,000 asteroid detections since March 2000.

  15. Radar observations of asteroid 1986 JK (United States)

    Ostro, S. J.; Yeomans, D. K.; Chodas, P. W.; Goldstein, R. M.; Jurgens, R. F.; Thompson, T. W.


    The asteroid 1986 JK was observed with a 3.5 cm-wavelength radar in May and June, 1986, at less than 0.029 AU; its radar echo power circular polarization ratio indicates single backscattering from smooth surface elements. A working model constructed for the asteroid in light of these radar data postulates a 1-2 km object whose shape has little elongation and some polar flattening. Orbital and physical characteristics are rather cometlike. The radar astrometric data obtained are noted to be extremely powerful for orbit-improvement, so that a search ephemeris whose uncertainty is an order-of-magnitude smaller than that based on relevant optical data alone can be prepared by combining optical and radar data.

  16. NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year Three: Asteroid Diameters and Albedos

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Kramer, E. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 183-301, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Nugent, C.; Cutri, R. M. [California Institute of Technology, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, 1200 California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States); Wright, E. L. [University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States); Bauer, J. M. [University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (United States); Grav, T.; Sonnett, S., E-mail: [Planetary Science Institute, 1700 E Fort Lowell Road #106, Tucson, AZ 85719 (United States)


    The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) reactivation mission has completed its third year of surveying the sky in the thermal infrared for near-Earth asteroids and comets. NEOWISE collects simultaneous observations at 3.4 and 4.6  μ m of solar system objects passing through its field of regard. These data allow for the determination of total thermal emission from bodies in the inner solar system, and thus the sizes of these objects. In this paper, we present thermal model fits of asteroid diameters for 170 NEOs and 6110 Main Belt asteroids (MBAs) detected during the third year of the survey, as well as the associated optical geometric albedos. We compare our results with previous thermal model results from NEOWISE for overlapping sample sets, as well as diameters determined through other independent methods, and find that our diameter measurements for NEOs agree to within 26% (1 σ ) of previously measured values. Diameters for the MBAs are within 17% (1 σ ). This brings the total number of unique near-Earth objects characterized by the NEOWISE survey to 541, surpassing the number observed during the fully cryogenic mission in 2010.

  17. Mobility in the Small Body Environment: Close Proximity Landing and Surface Dynamics (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Increasingly over the past decade, scientific interest in asteroids and comets has led to the development of mission architectures for both robotic and crewed...

  18. Giant comets and mass extinctions of life (United States)

    Napier, W. M.


    I find evidence for clustering in age of well-dated impact craters over the last 500 Myr. At least nine impact episodes are identified, with durations whose upper limits are set by the dating accuracy of the craters. Their amplitudes and frequency are inconsistent with an origin in asteroid breakups or Oort cloud disturbances, but are consistent with the arrival and disintegration in near-Earth orbits of rare, giant comets, mainly in transit from the Centaur population into the Jupiter family and Encke regions. About 1 in 10 Centaurs in Chiron-like orbits enter Earth-crossing epochs, usually repeatedly, each such epoch being generally of a few thousand years' duration. On time-scales of geological interest, debris from their breakup may increase the mass of the near-Earth interplanetary environment by two or three orders of magnitude, yielding repeated episodes of bombardment and stratospheric dusting. I find a strong correlation between these bombardment episodes and major biostratigraphic and geological boundaries, and propose that episodes of extinction are most effectively driven by prolonged encounters with meteoroid streams during bombardment episodes. Possible mechanisms are discussed.

  19. Constraints on Comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami (United States)

    Hui, Man-To; Ye, Quan-Zhi; Wiegert, Paul


    Encke-type comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami is experiencing cascading fragmentation events during its 2016 apparition. It is likely the first splitting Encke-type comet ever observed. A nongravitational solution to the astrometry reveals a statistical detection of the radial and transverse nongravitational parameters, {A}1=(1.54+/- 0.39)× {10}-8 au day-2 and {A}2=(7.19+/- 1.92)× {10}-9 au day-2, respectively, which implies a nucleus erosion rate of (9.1+/- 1.7)‰ per orbital revolution. The mass-loss rate likely has to be supported by a much larger fraction of an active surface area than known cases of short-period comets; it may be relevant to the ongoing fragmentation. We failed to detect any serendipitous pre-discovery observations of the comet in archival data from major sky surveys, whereby we infer that 332P used to be largely inactive, and is perhaps among the few short-period comets that have been reactivated from weakly active or dormant states. We therefore constrain an upper limit to the nucleus size as 2.0 ± 0.2 km in radius. A search for small bodies in similar orbits to that of 332P reveals comet P/2010 B2 (WISE) to be the best candidate. From an empirical generalized Jupiter-family (Encke-type included) comet population model, we estimate the likelihood of a chance alignment of the 332P-P/2010 B2 pair to be 1 in 33, a small number indicative of a genetic linkage between the two comets on a statistical basis. The pair possibly originated from a common progenitor, which underwent a disintegration event well before the twentieth century.

  20. In-Situ Sampling Analysis of a Jupiter Trojan Asteroid by High Resolution Mass Spectrometry in the Solar Power Sail Mission (United States)

    Kebukawa, Y.; Aoki, J.; Ito, M.; Kawai, Y.; Okada, T.; Matsumoto, J.; Yano, H.; Yurimoto, H.; Terada, K.; Toyoda, M.; Yabuta, H.; Nakamura, R.; Cottin, H.; Grand, N.; Mori, O.


    The Solar Power Sail (SPS) mission is one of candidates for the upcoming strategic middle-class space exploration to demonstrate the first outer Solar System journey of Japan. The mission concept includes in-situ sampling analysis of the surface and subsurface (up to 1 m) materials of a Jupiter Trojan asteroid using high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). The candidates for the HRMS are multi-turn time-of-flight mass spectrometer (MULTUM) type and Cosmorbitrap type. We plan to analyze isotopic and elemental compositions of volatile materials from organic matter, hydrated minerals, and ice (if any), in order to understand origin and evolution of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. It will provide insights into planet formation/migration theories, evolution and distribution of volatiles in the Solar System, and missing link between asteroids and comets on evolutional. The HRMS system allows to measure H, N, C, O isotopic compositions and elemental compositions of molecules prepared by various pre-MS procedures including stepwise heating up to 600ºC, gas chromatography (GC), and high-temperature pyrolysis with catalyst to decompose the samples into simple gaseous molecules (e.g., H2, CO, and N2) for isotopic ratio analysis. The required mass resolution should be at least 30,000 for analyzing isotopic ratios for simple gaseous molecules. For elemental compositions, mass accuracy of 10 ppm is required to determine elemental compositions for molecules with m/z up to 300 (as well as compound specific isotopic compositions for smaller molecules). Our planned analytical sequences consist of three runs for both surface and subsurface samples. In addition, `sniff mode' which simply introduces environmental gaseous molecules into a HRMS will be done by the system.

  1. Destruction of Sun-Grazing Comet C-2011 N3 (SOHO) Within the Low Solar Corona (United States)

    Schrijver, C. J.; Brown, J. C.; Battams, K.; Saint-Hilaire, P.; Liu, W.; Hudson, H.; Pesnell, W. D.


    Observations of comets in Sun-grazing orbits that survive solar insolation long enough to penetrate into the Suns inner corona provide information on the solar atmosphere and magnetic field as well as on the makeup of the comet. On 6 July 2011, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed the demise of comet C2011 N3 (SOHO) within the low solar corona in five wavelength bands in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV). The comet penetrated to within 0.146 solarradius (100,000 kilometers) of the solar surface before its EUV signal disappeared.

  2. Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous: mission overview (United States)

    Cheng, A. F.; Santo, A. G.; Heeres, K. J.; Landshof, J. A.; Farquhar, R. W.; Gold, R. E.; Lee, S. C.


    The Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, the first launch of NASA's Discovery Program, will be the first mission to orbit an asteroid. NEAR will make the first comprehensive scientific measurements of an asteroid's surface composition, geology, physical properties, and internal structure. NEAR launched successfully on February 17, 1996, aboard a Delta II-7925. It will orbit the 20-km-diameter near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros for about 1 year, at a minimum orbit radius of about 35 km from the center of the asteroid. The NEAR is a solar-powered, three-axis stabilized spacecraft with a launch mass including propellant of 805 kg. NEAR uses X band telemetry to the NASA Deep Space Network, with the data rates at Eros up to 8.8 kbits/s using a 34-m High Efficiency (HEF) dish, and up to 26.5 kbits/s using a 70-m dish. A solid-state recorder is accommodated with a memory capacity of 1.8 Gbytes. Attitude control is to 1.7 mrad, line-of-sight pointing stability is within 50 μrad over 1 s, and post processing attitude knowledge is within 50 μrad. NEAR accommodates 56 kg of instruments and provides them with 84 W. The instruments are a multispectral imager (MSI), a near-infrared spectrograph (NIS), an X ray/gamma ray spectrometer (XRS/GRS), a magnetometer (MAG), and a laser rangefinder (NLR), while a radio science (RS) investigation uses the coherent X band transponder. NEAR will make a flyby of the C-type asteroid 253 Mathilde in June 1997 and will rendezvous with 433 Eros in February 1999. It will execute an initial slow flyby of Eros, with a flyby speed of 5 m/s and a closest approach distance of 500 km. Subsequently, its orbit will be lowered to 35 km. The NEAR Mission Operations Center and the Science Data Center are at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The Science Data Center will maintain the entire NEAR data set on-line, and data from all instruments can be accessed by every member of the NEAR Science Team. Data, including images, are released over

  3. The Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko (United States)

    Buratti, Bonnie J.


    As remnant bodies left over from the formation of the Solar System, comets offer clues to the physical conditions and architecture of the protosolar nebula. The Rosetta spacecraft, which included an orbiter and a lander that were built and managed by the European Space Agency with NASA contributing four instruments and scientific expertise, was the first mission to orbit and study a comet through a perihelion passage. The targeted Jupiter-family comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko, is seemingly two distinct planetesimals stuck together. The comet has not melted or been processed substantially, except for its outer layers, which consist of reaccreted dust and a crust of heated, devolatized, and annealed refractory materials and organics. The exceptionally low density (0.53 gm/cc) of 67P/ implies it is a rubble pile. The comet also appears to contain a hierarchy of building blocks: smaller spherically shaped meter-sized bodies can be seen in its interior, and even smaller cm-sized pebbles were imaged by the camera as the spacecraft made a soft crash landing on the comet’s surface on 30 September 2016. The unexpected discovery of molecular oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen imply that 67P/ was formed under cold conditions not exceeding 30K. The discovery of many organic compounds, including the amino acid glycine, lends support to the idea that comets, which originate in the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud, brought the building blocks of life to Earth. More laboratory data on organic compounds would help to identify additional organic compounds on the comet. The differences between cometary and terrestrial D/H ratios suggest that comets are not the primary source of terrestrial water, although data on more comets is needed to confirm this result.Besides being primordial objects offering a window into the formation of solar systems, comets are astrophysical laboratories, ejecting dust and charged particles into the plasma comprising the solar wind. Several unusual phenomena

  4. Asteroids as tracers of solar system formation: Probing the interior of primordial main belt asteroids (United States)

    Vernazza, P.


    Asteroids in our solar system are metallic, rocky and/or icy objects, ranging in size from a few meters to a few hundreds of kilometers. Whereas we now possess constraints for the surface composition of most D>100 km primordial main-belt asteroids, little is known regarding their internal structure. Yet, this is a fundamental property whose characteristics result directly from (a) their formation location, (b) their time of formation, and (c) their collisional history. Characterizing the internal structure of the main compositional classes of asteroids would therefore allow us to address entirely new questions regarding the earliest stages of planetesimal formation and their subsequent collisional and dynamical evolution. To achieve this goal, we will - via an ESO Large Program (LP) that was awarded 152h on VLT/SPHERE (the observations will be spread over 4 semesters from April 1st, 2017 till March 30, 2019 in service mode) - carry out disk-resolved observations of a substantial fraction of all D>100 km main-belt asteroids (sampling the four main compositional classes) at high angular resolution with VLT/SPHERE throughout their rotation. These observations will enable us to derive their volume (via their 3-D shape) which combined with already existing mass estimates will allow us to determine their bulk density and hence to characterize their internal structure. Such information will, in turn, provide unprecedented constraints on solar system formation models such as the Nice and Grand Tack models.

  5. EPOXI at comet Hartley 2. (United States)

    A'Hearn, Michael F; Belton, Michael J S; Delamere, W Alan; Feaga, Lori M; Hampton, Donald; Kissel, Jochen; Klaasen, Kenneth P; McFadden, Lucy A; Meech, Karen J; Melosh, H Jay; Schultz, Peter H; Sunshine, Jessica M; Thomas, Peter C; Veverka, Joseph; Wellnitz, Dennis D; Yeomans, Donald K; Besse, Sebastien; Bodewits, Dennis; Bowling, Timothy J; Carcich, Brian T; Collins, Steven M; Farnham, Tony L; Groussin, Olivier; Hermalyn, Brendan; Kelley, Michael S; Kelley, Michael S; Li, Jian-Yang; Lindler, Don J; Lisse, Carey M; McLaughlin, Stephanie A; Merlin, Frédéric; Protopapa, Silvia; Richardson, James E; Williams, Jade L


    Understanding how comets work--what drives their activity--is crucial to the use of comets in studying the early solar system. EPOXI (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation) flew past comet 103P/Hartley 2, one with an unusually small but very active nucleus, taking both images and spectra. Unlike large, relatively inactive nuclei, this nucleus is outgassing primarily because of CO(2), which drags chunks of ice out of the nucleus. It also shows substantial differences in the relative abundance of volatiles from various parts of the nucleus.

  6. Is An Asteroid Impact A Disaster? (Invited) (United States)

    Davies, R. H.


    Looking Ahead - As far as the disaster management community is concerned the risk posed by the possibility of a large asteroid or comet impacting the earth is a subject of science fiction. What is ignored is that smaller objects, like what caused the Tunguska air-burst or what caused Meteor Crater in Arizona, U.S., occur much more frequently and could have significant consequences. In this, the era of “all hazards”, it is past time that the disaster management community has it in their response plan repertoire to address the possibility of a moderate to small meteor impact or air-burst over a U.S. city. It is the author’s opinion that if a small or moderate sized meteor impact or air-burst were to occur in the U.S. the event would assessed to be a nuclear detonation, an event for which there is actually response planning in place. The author further concludes that the confusion resulting from such an incorrect response would likely result in increased loss of life The presentation will suggest a process to develop a response plan for a small or moderate sized meteor impact or air-burst.

  7. Progress in clinical research of asteroid hyalosis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiao-Xue Liu


    Full Text Available Asteroid Hyalosis(AHis a common clinical disease, which has been considered a benign disorder as it rarely impairs visual acuity. It was often discovered when the patient was treated for other eye diseases. The mechanism was unclear. Its characteristic B-ultrasound property makes the B-ultrasound a very helpful diagnostic technique. In the case of the patients with other fundus diseases associated with AH, optical coherence tomography(OCTand fluorescein angiography(FAmay be used to reduce the interference from asteroid bodies, therefore improve the fundus visibility. Recent studies have shown that AH can incorporate with many other eye diseases. For example, in patients with cataracts, asteroid hyalosis can cause surface calcification of silicone plate intraocular lenses, which in most cases may lead to the need for explantation of the calcified intraocular lenses. The efficacy of pars plana vitrectomy(PPV, the removal of some, or all, of the eye's vitreous humor for AH remains controversial. In this paper, we provide a review of the recent literature on AH disease: the etiology, diagnosis and treatment. We hope to thus improve the awareness and outcomes of AH disease.

  8. The variable nature of the comet-solar wind interaction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flammer, K.R.


    The different modes of interaction of the solar wind with a Halley-type comet as it approaches the sun are discussed. At large heliocentric distances the solar wind penetrates unimpeded onto the surface of the comet nucleus. This causes electrostatic charging and expulsion of fine dust from the comet surface; a process which is modulated by the local solar wind flux. The observed irregular brightness variation of comet Halley between 11 and 8 AU (inbound) are explained in terms of this mechanism. As the comet moves closer to the sun (within 4 AU), mass loading of the solar wind by the heavy cometary ions causes the flow to slow down, thereby enhancing the convected interplanetary magnetic field significantly. This magnetic field enhancement is the earliest and most sensitive signature associated with the solar wind mass loading. Still farther in (≤ 3 AU), as the mass loading approaches a critical value, a weak collisionless standing shock forms, which recedes upstream of the nucleus as the comet approaches the sun. The cometary atmosphere becomes dense enough so that a well-defined ionopause forms which separates the cometary ionospheric plasma from the contaminated solar wind plasma only when the comet is within ∼ 2.2 AU from the sun. The stability of the ionopause is examined under the framework of linear magnetohydrodynamic taking into account the effects of ion-neutral drag, sources, curvature and compressibility. Both Kelvin-Helmholtz and Rayleigh Taylor modes are excited. The growth rates of these modes are determined from various shears and density jumps at the ionopause and under different solar wind conditions. A quasi-linear theory is then used to examine the evolution of the unstable modes to finite amplitudes

  9. Two-step Laser Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry to Elucidate Organic Diversity in Planetary Surface Materials. (United States)

    Getty, Stephanie A.; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Cornish, Timothy; Li, Xiang; Floyd, Melissa; Arevalo, Ricardo Jr.; Cook, Jamie Elsila; Callahan, Michael P.


    Laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LD-TOF-MS) holds promise to be a low-mass, compact in situ analytical capability for future landed missions to planetary surfaces. The ability to analyze a solid sample for both mineralogical and preserved organic content with laser ionization could be compelling as part of a scientific mission pay-load that must be prepared for unanticipated discoveries. Targeted missions for this instrument capability include Mars, Europa, Enceladus, and small icy bodies, such as asteroids and comets.

  10. COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS) (United States)

    The COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS) is an extramural-intramural partnership that promotes collaboration among prospective cohort studies that follow participants for a range of outcomes and perform metabolomic profiling of individuals.

  11. Near-Earth Asteroids as Possible Parent Bodies of Meteor Streams

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M.G. Sokolova


    Full Text Available The genetic relationship of meteor streams with near-Earth asteroids (NEAs is being actively studied. A genetic link with the asteroid is possible only for streams in which meteoroids have the geocentric speed smaller than 50 km/s, thereby meaning the proportionality of their orbits with the orbits of asteroids. To date, there are about 40 such orphan streams with unknown parent bodies. In the paper, NEA groups (Aten, Apollo, Amor, and Atira have been considered from the perspective of possible search for the parent bodies of meteor streams among them. The groups have been compared based on the following parameters: eccentricity of asteroid orbits, as well as size and chemical composition of asteroids. Currently, it is considered that the surface of asteroids with elongated orbits is subjected to temperature fall: it is heated in perihelion and cooled in aphelion. Due to small orbital periods around the Sun (about 2–4 years, this may lead to formation of meteoroid clusters. Therefore, comparison of asteroids by their orbit shape and physicochemical parameters enables us to distinguish between NEA groups of asteroids and the Apollo group as most probable candidates to search for the parent bodies of meteor streams among NEAs. Unfortunately, finding physicochemical parameters poses great difficulties, since they are only detectable for some asteroids. At the same time, it is impossible to study asteroids dynamics, evolution, and relation with other bodies of the Solar system, as well as to realistically assess the impact of NEAs and products of their disintegration collision with the Earth and to develop systems of anti-asteroid protection without knowing the following parameters of asteroids: mineralogical composition, density, size, and accurate mass.

  12. The Science of Sungrazers, Sunskirters, and Other Near-Sun Comets (United States)

    Jones, Geraint H.; Knight, Matthew M.; Battams, Karl; Boice, Daniel C.; Brown, John; Giordano, Silvio; Raymond, John; Snodgrass, Colin; Steckloff, Jordan K.; Weissman, Paul; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Lisse, Carey; Opitom, Cyrielle; Birkett, Kimberley S.; Bzowski, Maciej; Decock, Alice; Mann, Ingrid; Ramanjooloo, Yudish; McCauley, Patrick


    This review addresses our current understanding of comets that venture close to the Sun, and are hence exposed to much more extreme conditions than comets that are typically studied from Earth. The extreme solar heating and plasma environments that these objects encounter change many aspects of their behaviour, thus yielding valuable information on both the comets themselves that complements other data we have on primitive solar system bodies, as well as on the near-solar environment which they traverse. We propose clear definitions for these comets: We use the term near-Sun comets to encompass all objects that pass sunward of the perihelion distance of planet Mercury (0.307 AU). Sunskirters are defined as objects that pass within 33 solar radii of the Sun's centre, equal to half of Mercury's perihelion distance, and the commonly-used phrase sungrazers to be objects that reach perihelion within 3.45 solar radii, i.e. the fluid Roche limit. Finally, comets with orbits that intersect the solar photosphere are termed sundivers. We summarize past studies of these objects, as well as the instruments and facilities used to study them, including space-based platforms that have led to a recent revolution in the quantity and quality of relevant observations. Relevant comet populations are described, including the Kreutz, Marsden, Kracht, and Meyer groups, near-Sun asteroids, and a brief discussion of their origins. The importance of light curves and the clues they provide on cometary composition are emphasized, together with what information has been gleaned about nucleus parameters, including the sizes and masses of objects and their families, and their tensile strengths. The physical processes occurring at these objects are considered in some detail, including the disruption of nuclei, sublimation, and ionisation, and we consider the mass, momentum, and energy loss of comets in the corona and those that venture to lower altitudes. The different components of comae and

  13. Tracing meteorite source regions through asteroid spectroscopy (United States)

    Thomas, Cristina Ana

    attempting to infer mineralogy. Yet work by Gaffey et al. (1993) describes the S-asteroid class as home to a wide variety of mineralogies. Using data from the Small Main-belt Asteroid Spectroscopic Survey (SMASS), the 24-color asteroid survey and the 52-color asteroid survey, the spectral parameters of subclass members are investigated to predict possible errors to our model. While spectra are a diagnostic tool, there are factors inherent to the environment of near-Earth asteroids that pose ambiguities, such as grain size, temperature and space weathering. These factors are difficult to deconvolve from the compositional signal and are addressed here by simulated effects on meteorites from RELAB, Moroz et al. (2000) and Strazzulla et al (2005). A long-standing puzzle in asteroid science is the space weathering process and its implications for the relationship between S-type asteroids and ordinary chondrites. While Q-type asteroids are most spectrally similar to ordinary chondrites, these meteorites share certain diagnostic similarities with S-type asteroids. Binzel et al. (2004) statistically demonstrated a trend in spectral slope in near-Earth objects from 0.1 to 5 km. This analysis provided a missing link between the Q- and S-type by showing a reddening of spectral slope with larger diameter that corresponds to a transition from Q-type asteroid spectra to S-type asteroid spectra. This reddening of spectral slope is attributed to the effects of space weathering on the observable surface composition. This work shows preliminary results of a photometric survey of small Koronis family members. Observations of these objects were obtained in visible and near- infrared Harris and Sloan filters. Due to their common origin, Koronis family members have shown similar S-type spectroscopic signatures. We assume this consistency applies to the small-unclassified bodies. This provides a unique opportunity to compare the effects of the space weathering process on potentially ordinary

  14. Observing the variation of asteroid thermal inertia with heliocentric distance (United States)

    Rozitis, B.; Green, S. F.; MacLennan, E.; Emery, J. P.


    Thermal inertia is a useful property to characterise a planetary surface since it can be used as a qualitative measure of the regolith grain size. It is expected to vary with heliocentric distance because of its dependence on temperature. However, no previous investigation has conclusively observed a change in thermal inertia for any given planetary body. We have addressed this by using NEOWISE data and the Advanced Thermophysical Model to study the thermophysical properties of the near-Earth asteroids (1036) Ganymed, (1580) Betulia, and (276049) 2002 CE26 as they moved around their highly eccentric orbits. We confirm that the thermal inertia values of Ganymed and 2002 CE26 do vary with heliocentric distance, although the degree of variation observed depends on the spectral emissivity assumed in the thermophysical modelling. We also confirm that the thermal inertia of Betulia did not change for three different observations obtained at the same heliocentric distance. Depending on the spectral emissivity, the variations for Ganymed and 2002 CE26 are potentially more extreme than that implied by theoretical models of heat transfer within asteroidal regoliths, which might be explained by asteroids having thermal properties that also vary with depth. Accounting for this variation reduces a previously observed trend of decreasing asteroid thermal inertia with increasing size, and suggests that the surfaces of small and large asteroids could be much more similar than previously thought. Furthermore, this variation can affect Yarkovsky orbital drift predictions by a few tens of per cent.

  15. Spectral properties of binary asteroids (United States)

    Pajuelo, Myriam; Birlan, Mirel; Carry, Benoît; DeMeo, Francesca E.; Binzel, Richard P.; Berthier, Jérôme


    We present the first attempt to characterize the distribution of taxonomic class among the population of binary asteroids (15% of all small asteroids). For that, an analysis of 0.8-2.5{μ m} near-infrared spectra obtained with the SpeX instrument on the NASA/IRTF is presented. Taxonomic class and meteorite analog is determined for each target, increasing the sample of binary asteroids with known taxonomy by 21%. Most binary systems are bound in the S-, X-, and C- classes, followed by Q and V-types. The rate of binary systems in each taxonomic class agrees within uncertainty with the background population of small near-Earth objects and inner main belt asteroids, but for the C-types which are under-represented among binaries.

  16. Near Earth Asteroid Scout Project (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — In considering targets for human asteroid missions, there are several major factors that will make a significant difference in assessment of mission risks that...

  17. Identification of asteroid dynamical families (United States)

    Valsecchi, G. B.; Carusi, A.; Knezevic, Z.; Kresak, L.; Williams, J. G.


    Problems involved in the identification of asteroid dynamical families are discussed, and some methodological guidelines are presented. Asteroid family classifications are reviewed, and differences in the existing classifications are examined with special attention given to the effects of observational selection on the classification of family membership. The paper also discusses various theories of secular perturbations, including the classical linear theory, the theory of Williams (1969), and the higher order/degree theory of Yuasa (1973).

  18. Are Trojan collisional families a source for short-period comets? (United States)

    Marzari, F.; Farinella, P.; Vanzani, V.


    We have investigated the dynamical evolution of fragments generated by the impact breakup of Trojan asteroids, in order to study the formation of collisional families in the Trojan clouds and to identify a possible genetic connection between these fragments and the population of short-period comets. Using a collisional model based on the results of high-velocity laboratory impact experiments and previously applied to main-belt asteroid families, we show that typical family-forming Trojan collisions eject a significant percentage (at least =~20%) of the resulting fragments onto unstable orbits. Numerical integrations of the orbits of such fictitious, unstable Trojan fragments show that soon they experience close encounters with Jupiter, and as a consequence they become undistinguishable from those of Jupiter-family comets (some of which are currently close to the 1:1 Jovian resonance), of comets undergoing temporary satellite captures by Jupiter (such as P/Shoemaker-Levy 9), and of objects with Jupiter-crossing or -approaching orbits (such as 944 Hidalgo, 2060 Chiron, 5145 Pholus and 3552 Don Quixote). A reliable assessment of the efficiency of the transfer process from the Trojan clouds into comet-type orbits and of its time dependence is difficult, owing in particular to the poorly known size distribution of Trojans. However, an order-of-magnitude estimate suggests that if the fragment flux from the Trojan clouds over the last =~10^6^yr has been close to the average one over the solar system's lifetime, then a few tens of the 160 known short-period comets might have been generated by Trojan collisions.

  19. Tabulation of comet observations. (United States)


    Concerning comets: 1980 IV Černis-Petrauskas, 1985 XVII Hartley-Good, 1985 XIII P/Giacobini-Zinner, 1985 XIX Thiele, 1986 III P/Halley, 1988 I Ichimura, 1988 V Liller, 1988 XV Machholz, 1989 X P/Brorsen-Metcalf, 1989 XIX Okazaki-Levy-Rudenko, 1989 XXII Aarseth-Brewington, 1990 V Austin, 1990 XVII Tsuchiya-Kiuchi, 1990 XX Levy, 1991 I P/Metcalf-Brewington, 1991 XXIV Shoemaker-Levy, 1991l Helin-Lawrence, 1991a1 Shoemaker-Levy, 1991g1 Zanotta-Brewington, 1991h1 Mueller, 1992d Tanaka-Machholz, 1992h Spacewatch, 1992l P/Giclas, 1992m P/Wolf, 1992n P/Faye, 1992p P/Brewington, 1992q Helin-Lawrence, 1992s P/Ciffréo, 1992t P/Swift-Tuttle, 1992u P/Väisälä, 1992x P/Schaumasse, 1992y Shoemaker, 1992a1 Ohshita, 1993a Mueller, 1993d Mueller, 1993e P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, P/Encke, P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1.

  20. Special issue on asteroids - Introduction (United States)

    Novaković, Bojan; Hsieh, Henry H.; Gronchi, Giovanni F.


    The articles in this special issue are devoted to asteroids, small solar system bodies that primarily populate a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, known as the asteroid belt, but can also be found throughout the Solar System. Asteroids are considered to be a key to understanding the formation and evolution of our planetary system. Their properties allow us to test current theoretical models and develop new theoretical concepts pertaining to evolutionary processes in the Solar System. There have been major advances in asteroid science in the last decade, and that trend continues. Eighteen papers accepted for this special issue cover a wide range of asteroid-related subjects, pushing the boundaries of our understanding of these intriguing objects even further. Here we provide the reader with a brief overview of these thrilling papers, with an invitation for interested scientists to read each work in detail for a better understanding of these recent cutting edge results. As many topics in asteroid science remain open challenges, we hope that this special issue will be an important reference point for future research on this compelling topic.

  1. Thermophysical modeling of main-belt asteroids from WISE data (United States)

    Hanuš, J.; Delbó, M.; Durech, J.; Alí-Lagoa, V.


    We determine asteroid physical parameters such as size, surface roughness, albedo, and thermal inertia by applying the implementation of the thermophysical model (TPM) of Lagerros (1996; 1997; 1998) to the thermal data obtained by the NASA WISE satellite. We present thermophysical parameters for ˜150 asteroids, which gives us so far the largest sample of asteroids with determined values of thermal inertia. On several individual cases, we discuss the reliability of our determinations and limitations of the TPM method we use. As initial shapes, we adopt convex shape models from the DAMIT database (Durech et al., 2010) and present new determinations based on combined dense and sparse-in-time disk-integrated photometry and the lightcurve inversion method (Kaasalainen & Torppa 2001; Kaasalainen et al., 2001). We use thermal data from the WISE filters W3 and W4, as well as the data observed by the IRAS satellite. However, due to the intriguing accuracy of the fluxes and larger amount of measurements, the WISE data are significantly more important and dominate the modeling. The WISE data are processed the same way as in Alí-Lagoa et al. (2014) for asteroid (341 843) 2008 EV_5. We show the main results of the study of derived thermophysical parameters within the whole population of MBAs and within several asteroid families with the main focus on the thermal inertia. The thermal inertia increases with decreasing size (as previously shown by Delbó et al., 2007), but a large range of thermal inertia values is observed within the similar size ranges between D˜10-100 km. Surprisingly, we derived very low (<10 J m^{-2} s^{-1/2} K^{-1}) thermal inertias for many asteroids (˜20) with various sizes. The range of thermal inertia values is large even within a few asteroid families.

  2. The mass disruption of Oort cloud comets. (United States)

    Levison, Harold F; Morbidelli, Alessandro; Dones, Luke; Jedicke, Robert; Wiegert, Paul A; Bottke, William F


    We have calculated the number of dormant, nearly isotropic Oort cloud comets in the solar system by (i) combining orbital distribution models with statistical models of dormant comet discoveries by well-defined surveys and (ii) comparing the model results to observations of a population of dormant comets. Dynamical models that assume that comets are not destroyed predict that we should have discovered approximately 100 times more dormant nearly isotropic comets than are actually seen. Thus, as comets evolve inward from the Oort cloud, the majority of them must physically disrupt.

  3. Hubble space telescope investigation of main-belt comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jewitt, David; Ishiguro, Masateru [Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 (United States); Weaver, Harold [The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723 (United States); Agarwal, Jessica [Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Gottingen (Germany); Mutchler, Max [Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States); Larson, Steven, E-mail: [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85721-0092 (United States)


    We report new observations of the prototype main-belt comet (active asteroid) 133P/Elst-Pizarro taken at high angular resolution using the Hubble Space Telescope. The object has three main components: (1) a point-like nucleus; (2) a long, narrow antisolar dust tail; and (3) a short, sunward anti-tail. There is no resolved coma. The nucleus has a mean absolute magnitude H{sub V} = 15.70 ± 0.10 and a light curve range ΔV = 0.42 mag, the latter corresponding to projected dimensions 3.6 × 5.4 km (axis ratio 1.5:1) at the previously measured geometric albedo of 0.05 ± 0.02. We explored a range of continuous and impulsive emission models to simultaneously fit the measured surface brightness profile, width, and position angle of the antisolar tail. Preferred fits invoke protracted emission, over a period of 150 days or less, of dust grains following a differential power-law size distribution with index 3.25 ≤q ≤ 3.5 and with a wide range of sizes. Ultra-low surface brightness dust projected in the sunward direction is a remnant from emission activity occurring in previous orbits, and consists of the largest (≥cm-sized) particles. Ejection velocities of one-micron-sized particles are comparable to the ∼1.8 m s{sup –1} gravitational escape speed of the nucleus, while larger particles are released at speeds less than the gravitational escape velocity. The observations are consistent with, but do not prove, a hybrid hypothesis in which mass loss is driven by gas drag from the sublimation of near-surface water ice, but escape is aided by centripetal acceleration from the rotation of the elongated nucleus. No plausible alternative hypothesis has been identified.

  4. Comets, Carbonaceous Meteorites, and the Origin of the Biosphere (United States)

    Hoover, Richard B.


    Evidence for indigenous microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites suggests that the paradigm of the endogenous origin of life on Earth should be reconsidered. It is now widely accepted that comets and carbonaceous meteorites played an important role in the delivery of water, organics and life critical biogenic elements to the early Earth and facilitated the origin and evolution of the Earth's Biosphere. However; the detection of embedded microfossils and mats in carbonaceous meteorites implies that comets and meteorites may have played a direct role in the delivery of intact microorganisms and that the Biosphere may extend far into the Cosmos. Recent space observations have found the nuclei of comets to have very low albedos (approx.0.03) and. these jet-black surfaces become very hot (T approx. 400 K) near perihelion. This paper reviews recent observational data-on comets and suggests that liquid water pools could exist in cavities and fissures between the internal ices and rocks and the exterior carbonaceous crust. The presence of light and liquid water near the surface of the nucleus enhances the possibility that comets could harbor prokaryotic extremophiles (e.g., cyanobacteria) capable of growth over a wide range of temperatures. The hypothesis that comets are the parent bodies of the CI1 and the CM2 carbonaceous meteorites is advanced. Electron microscopy images will be presented showing forms interpreted as indigenous-microfossils embedded' in freshly. fractured interior surfaces of the Orgueil (CI1) and Murchison (CM2) meteorites. These forms are consistent in size and morphologies with known morphotypes of all five orders of Cyanobacteriaceae: Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) elemental data shows that the meteoritic forms have anomalous C/O; C/N; and C/S as compared with modern extremophiles and cyanobacteria. These images and spectral data indicate that the clearly biogenic and embedded remains cannot be interpreted as recent biological

  5. Lifetime of a spacecraft around a synchronous system of asteroids using a dipole model (United States)

    dos Santos, Leonardo Barbosa Torres; de Almeida Prado, Antonio F. Bertachini; Sanchez, Diogo Merguizo


    Space missions allow us to expand our knowledge about the origin of the solar system. It is believed that asteroids and comets preserve the physical characteristics from the time that the solar system was created. For this reason, there was an increase of missions to asteroids in the past few years. To send spacecraft to asteroids or comets is challenging, since these objects have their own characteristics in several aspects, such as size, shape, physical properties, etc., which are often only discovered after the approach and even after the landing of the spacecraft. These missions must be developed with sufficient flexibility to adjust to these parameters, which are better determined only when the spacecraft reaches the system. Therefore, conducting a dynamic investigation of a spacecraft around a multiple asteroid system offers an extremely rich environment. Extracting accurate information through analytical approaches is quite challenging and requires a significant number of restrictive assumptions. For this reason, a numerical approach to the dynamics of a spacecraft in the vicinity of a binary asteroid system is offered in this paper. In the present work, the equations of the Restricted Synchronous Four-Body Problem (RSFBP) are used to model a binary asteroid system. The main objective of this work is to construct grids of initial conditions, which relates semi-major axis and eccentricity, in order to quantify the lifetime of a spacecraft when released close to the less massive body of the binary system (modeled as a rotating mass dipole). We performed an analysis of the lifetime of the spacecraft considering several mass ratios of a binary system of asteroids and investigating the behavior of a spacecraft in the vicinity of this system. We analyze direct and retrograde orbits. This study investigated orbits that survive for at least 500 orbital periods of the system (which is approximately one year), then not colliding or escaping from the system during this

  6. NASA's asteroid redirect mission: Robotic boulder capture option (United States)

    Abell, P.; Nuth, J.; Mazanek, D.; Merrill, R.; Reeves, D.; Naasz, B.


    NASA is examining two options for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which will return asteroid material to a Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (LDRO) using a robotic solar-electric-propulsion spacecraft, called the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV). Once the ARV places the asteroid material into the LDRO, a piloted mission will rendezvous and dock with the ARV. After docking, astronauts will conduct two extravehicular activities (EVAs) to inspect and sample the asteroid material before returning to Earth. One option involves capturing an entire small (˜4--10 m diameter) near-Earth asteroid (NEA) inside a large inflatable bag. However, NASA is also examining another option that entails retrieving a boulder (˜1--5 m) via robotic manipulators from the surface of a larger (˜100+ m) pre-characterized NEA. The Robotic Boulder Capture (RBC) option can leverage robotic mission data to help ensure success by targeting previously (or soon to be) well-characterized NEAs. For example, the data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Hayabusa mission has been utilized to develop detailed mission designs that assess options and risks associated with proximity and surface operations. Hayabusa's target NEA, Itokawa, has been identified as a valid target and is known to possess hundreds of appropriately sized boulders on its surface. Further robotic characterization of additional NEAs (e.g., Bennu and 1999 JU_3) by NASA's OSIRIS REx and JAXA's Hayabusa 2 missions is planned to begin in 2018. This ARM option reduces mission risk and provides increased benefits for science, human exploration, resource utilization, and planetary defense.

  7. (Not yet) Dead Comets in the Near-Earth Object Population (United States)

    Mommert, Michael; Trilling, David; Mueller, Michael; Hora, Joseph; McMillan, Robert; Reach, William; Emery, Josh; Harris, Alan; Smith, Howard


    Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are replenished from a number of source regions in the asteroid main belt, but also from the comets. Most of the objects of cometary origin in the NEOs have ceased their activity, making these 'dead comets' nearly indistinguishable from low-albedo asteroids. Knowledge of the fraction of cometary NEOs is important to constrain the amount of cometary, carbonaceous material that has been brought to the Earth. We propose to observe 9 NEOs that are likely to be dead comets, for which we will derive diameters and albedos using thermal modeling. The measurement of the albedo provides evidence for a possibly cometary nature. The results of this project will contribute to constraining the fraction of NEOs that are of cometary origin. Furthermore, it will help investigating a possible relationship between dynamical properties and the albedo. In addition, high dynamic range (HDR) observations of 3 of our sample targets will be used to search for cometary activity in these objects. This method has been successful in NEO (3552) Don Quixote, where it revealed activity driven by CO2 gas. Our observations will be supported by ground-based optical observations that will improve the accuracy of the albedo measurements and perform an independent search for activity.

  8. Comet 67P Through the Lens of Art (United States)

    Smirnova, Ekaterina


    My proposal is to share my artistic exploration of a comet through the bodily senses, while finding inspiration in scientific data. I will present my artwork as a slideshow, showcasing: large scale paintings, ceramic sculptures, music and interactive augmented reality. The Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) to comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko is remarkable. The scientific investigation of the comet's composition, atmosphere, dust, vapor, surface and internal structure are crucial to help researchers understand the origin of the solar system and our own planet. Sight: Paintings Rosetta mission discovered that the water on the comet is different from the water on Earth; as measured with the ROSINA-DFMS instrument on Rosetta, water on 67P contains approximately 3 times more hydrogen­deuterium oxide - HDO, than found in Earth's oceans. In the art studio I re-create water that is close in composition to the water on the comet, by concentrating the level of HDO. With this water I paint large scale watermedia paintings, based on the photographs by Rosetta (OSIRIS, Nav. Cam.). Touch: Sculptures While exploring the comet's three-dimensional form, I focus more deeply on the composition of the comet. Stoneware clay and my choice of a glaze both include iron oxide, a common constituent of meteorites and comets. Hearing: Music An audio piece "A Singing Comet", by Manuel Senfft, based on the Rosetta Plasma Consortium data, inspired me to make a musical piece. In collaboration with clarinetist Lee Mottram (Wales) and composer Takuto Fukuda (Japan) we created an electro­acoustic composition in which we tell the story of comets visiting our Solar System, repeating their cycle, curving around the sun and releasing water, carrying away dust to form their tails. Smell In collaboration with The Open University, UK, postcards with a smell of the comet were created, introducing the chemical components of the comet. The smell was recreated by combining several molecules

  9. Two cubesat mission to study the Didymos asteroid system (United States)

    Wahlund, J.-E.; Vinterhav, E.; Trigo-Rodríguez, J. M.; Hallmann, M.; Barabash, S.; Ivchenko, N.


    Among the growing interest about asteroid impact hazard mitigation in our community the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission will be the first space experiment to use a kinetic impactor to demonstrate its capability as reliable deflection system [1]. As a part of the AIDA mission, we have proposed a set of two three-axis stabilized 3U CubeSats (with up to 5 science sensors) to simultaneously rendezvous at close range (CubeSats will be hosted on the ESA component of the AIDA mission, the monitoring satellite AIM (Asteroid Impact Mission). The CubeSats will characterise the magnetization, the main bulk chemical composition and presence of volatiles as well as do superresolution surface imaging of the Didymos components. The CubeSats will also support the plume characterisation resulting from the DART impact (Double Asteroid Redirection Test, a NASA component of the AIDA mission) at much closer range than the AIM main spacecraft, and provide imaging, composition, and temperature of the plume material. At end of the mission, the two CubeSats can optionally land on one of the asteroids for continued science operation. The science sensors consist of a dual fluxgate magnetometer (MAG), one miniaturized volatile composition analyser (VCA), a narrow angle camera (NAC) and a Video Emission Spectrometer (VES) with a diffraction grating for allowing a sequential chemical study of the emission spectra associated with the impact flare and the expanding plume. Consequently, the different envisioned instruments onboard the CubeSats can provide significant insight into the complex response of asteroid materials during impacts that has been theoretically studied using different techniques [2]. The two CubeSats will remain stowed in CubeSat dispensers aboard the main AIM spacecraft. They will be deployed and commissioned before the AIM impactor reaches the secondary and record the impact event from a closer vantage point than the main spacecraft. The two Cube

  10. Discovery of a Satellite around a Near-Earth Asteroid (United States)


    In the course of the major observational programme of asteroids by the Institute of Planetary Exploration of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) [1] in Berlin, two of the staff astronomers, Stefano Mottola and Gerhard Hahn , have discovered a small satellite (moon) orbiting the asteroid (3671) Dionysus. The new measurements were obtained with the DLR CCD Camera attached at the 60-cm Bochum telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory in Chile. This is only the second known case of an asteroid with a moon. Moons and planets Until recently, natural satellites were only known around the major planets . The Moon orbits the Earth, there are two tiny moons around Mars, each of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune has many more, and even the smallest and outermost, Pluto, is accompanied by one [2]. However, the new discovery now strengthens the belief of many astronomers that some, perhaps even a substantial number of the many thousands of minor planets (asteroids) in the solar system may also possess their own moons. The first discovery of a satellite orbiting an asteroid was made by the NASA Galileo spacecraft, whose imagery, obtained during a fly-by of asteroid (253) Ida in August 1993, unveiled a small moon that has since been given the name Dactyl. (3671) Dionysus: an Earth-crossing asteroid In the framework of the DLR asteroid monitoring programme, image sequences are acquired to measure an asteroid's brightness variations caused by the changing amount of sunlight reflected from the asteroid's illuminated surface as it spins, due to its irregular shape. The brightness variations may be used to derive the asteroid's rotational properties, such as speed of rotation and spin axis orientation. Asteroid Dionysus [3] was put on the observing list because it belongs to a special class of asteroids, the members of which occasionally come very close to the Earth and have a small, but non-negligible chance of colliding with our planet. Most of

  11. Tying Extinction Events to Comet Impacts Large Enough to Cause an Extinction in Themselves. (United States)

    Burgener, J. A.


    Comets over 35 km in size impacting Earth will create vast fireballs, and will boil large parts of the oceans, causing extinction events in themselves. They will likely provide enough energy to shatter the crust and eject large masses of molten rock from the mantle, forming traps. Traps are clearly associated with extinction events, but are not expected to cause extinctions. While Chicxulub is recognized to have occurred at the time of the K/Pg boundary layer, it is recognized as being too small in itself to cause an extinction. Are large comet impacts likely? The Kuiper belt has more than 100,000 objects over 100 km in diameter and millions over 10 km. Typically their orbits are less stable than asteroid orbits due to large bodies such as Pluto moving through the belt. The asteroid belt has only 10,000 objects over 10 km diameter. Comet impacts should be more common than asteroid impacts, yet none of the recognized craters are expected to be due to comets. There are many features on Earth that are poorly explained by Plate Tectonics that would be well explained if they were considered to be comet impact craters. A consideration of the Black Sea and the Tarim Basin will show that impact interpretations are a better fit than the present Plate Tectonics' explanations. Both basins are in the midst of mountain building from plate collisions, but are themselves not being disturbed by the plate collisions. Both are ellipses angled at 23.4 degrees to the equator, matching the angle expected for a low angle impact from a comet traveling in the ecliptic. Both are too deep at 15 km depths to be standard oceans (typically 5 km deep). Both are filled with horizontal layers of sediments, undisturbed by the mountain building occurring at the edges. Both have thin crusts and high Moho boundaries. Both have thin lithosphere. Yet both show GPS movement of the land around them moving away from them, as though they were much thicker and stronger than the surrounding land. The Tarim

  12. Catastrophic disruptions as the origin of bilobate comets (United States)

    Schwartz, Stephen R.; Michel, Patrick; Jutzi, Martin; Marchi, Simone; Zhang, Yun; Richardson, Derek C.


    Several comets observed at close range have bilobate shapes1, including comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G), which was imaged by the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission2,3. Bilobate comets are thought to be primordial because they are rich in supervolatiles (for example, N2 and CO) and have a low bulk density, which implies that their formation requires a very low-speed accretion of two bodies. However, slow accretion does not only occur during the primordial phase of the Solar System; it can also occur at later epochs as part of the reaccumulation process resulting from the collisional disruption of a larger body4, so this cannot directly constrain the age of bilobate comets. Here, we show by numerical simulation that 67P/C-G and other elongated or bilobate comets can be formed in the wake of catastrophic collisional disruptions of larger bodies while maintaining their volatiles and low density throughout the process. Since this process can occur at any epoch of our Solar System's history, from early on through to the present day5, there is no need for these objects to be formed primordially. These findings indicate that observed prominent geological features, such as pits and stratified surface layers4,5, may not be primordial.

  13. A Continuing Analysis of Possible Activity Drivers for the Enigmatic Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 (United States)

    Schambeau, Charles; Fernández, Yanga; Samarasinha, Nalin H.; Mueller, Beatrice E. A.; Sarid, Gal; Meech, Karen Jean; Woodney, Laura


    We present results from our effort to understand activity drivers in Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 (SW1). In a nearly circular orbit around 6 AU, outside of the water-sublimation zone, SW1 is continuously active and experiences frequent outbursts. Our group's effort is focusing on finding constraints on physical and dynamical properties of SW1's nucleus and their incorporation into a thermophysical model [1,2] to explain this behavior. We are currently analyzing coma morphology of SW1 before, during, and after outburst placing constraints on the spin-pole direction, spin period, and surface areas of activity. In addition, we are using the thermal model to investigate if the continuous activity comes from one or multiple processes, such as the release of trapped supervolatiles during the amorphous to crystalline (A-C) water ice phase transition and/or the direct sublimation of pockets of supervolatile ices. The supervolatile ices may be primordial or from the condensation of gases released during the A-C phase transition. To explain the possibly quasi-periodic but frequent outbursts, we are looking into subsurface cavities where internal pressures can build, reaching and exceeding surrounding material strengths [3,4] and/or thermal waves reaching a pocket of supervolatile ices, causing a rapid increase in the sublimation rate. For all these phenomena, the model is constrained by comparing the output dust mass loss rate and its variability with what has been observed through optical imaging of the comet at various points in its orbit. We will present preliminary thermal modeling of a homogeneous progenitor nucleus that evolves into a body showing internal material layering, the generation of CO and CO2 ice pockets, and the production of outbursts, thus bringing us closer to explaining the behavior of this intriguing comet. [1] Sarid, G., et al.: 2005, PASP, 117, 843. [2] Sarid, G.: 2009, PhD Thesis, Tel Aviv Univ. [3] Gronkowski, P., 2014, Astron. Nachr./AN 2, No

  14. Asteroid Redirect Mission Overview and Potential Science Opportunities (United States)

    Mazanek, D.; Naasz, B.; Cichy, B.; Reeves, D.; Abell, P.


    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing the first-ever robotic mission to visit a large near-Earth asteroid, collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the Moon. Once returned to cislunar space in the mid-2020s, astronauts will explore it and return to Earth with samples. This Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is part of NASA's plan to advance the technologies, capabilities, and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s. Subsequent human and robotic missions to the asteroidal material would also be facilitated by its return to cislunar space. An overview of robotic and crewed segments of ARM will be provided along with a discussion of the potential science opportunities associated with the mission.

  15. Comet showers and Nemesis, the death star

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hills, J.G.


    The recently proposed hypothesis that the periodic extinctions of terrestrial species are the result of comet showers catalyzed by a hypothetical distant solar companion, Nemesis, a tale of global death by comet bombardment of the earth, is discussed


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Keane, Jacqueline V.; Kleyna, Jan T.; Riesen, Timm-Emmanuel; Meech, Karen J. [Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Milam, Stefanie N.; Charnley, Steven B. [Astrochemistry Laboratory, NASA GSFC, MS 690, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Coulson, Iain M. [Joint Astronomy Center, 660 North Aohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States); Sekanina, Zdenek [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States); Kracht, Rainer, E-mail: [Ostlandring 53, D-25335 Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)


    We report submillimeter 450 and 850 μ m dust continuum observations for comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) obtained at heliocentric distances 0.31–0.08 au prior to perihelion on 2013 November 28 ( r {sub h} = 0.0125 au). These observations reveal a rapidly varying dust environment in which the dust emission was initially point-like. As ISON approached perihelion, the continuum emission became an elongated dust column spread out over as much as 60″ (>10{sup 5} km) in the anti-solar direction. Deconvolution of the November 28.04 850 μ m image reveals numerous distinct clumps consistent with the catastrophic disruption of comet ISON, producing ∼5.2 × 10{sup 10} kg of submillimeter-sized dust. Orbital computations suggest that the SCUBA-2 emission peak coincides with the comet's residual nucleus.

  17. Catastrophic Disruption of Comet ISON (United States)

    Keane, Jacqueline V.; Milam, Stefanie N.; Coulson, Iain M.; Kleyna, Jan T.; Sekanina, Zdenek; Kracht, Rainer; Riesen, Timm-Emmanuel; Meech, Karen J.; Charnley, Steven B.


    We report submillimeter 450 and 850 microns dust continuum observations for comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) obtained at heliocentric distances 0.31-0.08 au prior to perihelion on 2013 November 28 (rh?=?0.0125 au). These observations reveal a rapidly varying dust environment in which the dust emission was initially point-like. As ISON approached perihelion, the continuum emission became an elongated dust column spread out over as much as 60? (greater than 10(exp 5) km in the anti-solar direction. Deconvolution of the November 28.04 850 microns image reveals numerous distinct clumps consistent with the catastrophic disruption of comet ISON, producing approximately 5.2?×?10(exp 10) kg of submillimeter-sized dust. Orbital computations suggest that the SCUBA-2 emission peak coincides with the comet's residual nucleus.

  18. An Investigation of the Ranges of Validity of Asteroid Thermal Models for Near-Earth Asteroid Observations (United States)

    Mommert, M.; Jedicke, R.; Trilling, D. E.


    The majority of known asteroid diameters are derived from thermal-infrared observations. Diameters are derived using asteroid thermal models that approximate their surface temperature distributions and compare the measured thermal-infrared flux with model-dependent predictions. The most commonly used thermal model is the Near-Earth Asteroid Thermal Model (NEATM), which is usually perceived as superior to other models like the Fast-Rotating Model (FRM). We investigate the applicability of the NEATM and the FRM to thermal-infrared observations of Near-Earth Objects using synthetic asteroids with properties based on the real Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) population. We find the NEATM to provide more accurate diameters and albedos than the FRM in most cases, with a few exceptions. The modeling results are barely affected by the physical properties of the objects, but we find a large impact of the solar phase angle on the modeling results. We conclude that the NEATM provides statistically more robust diameter estimates for NEAs observed at solar phase angles less than ∼65°, while the FRM provides more robust diameter estimates for solar phase angles greater than ∼65°. We estimate that <5% of all NEA diameters and albedos derived up to date are affected by systematic effects that are of the same order of magnitude as the typical thermal model uncertainties. We provide statistical correction functions for diameters and albedos derived using the NEATM and FRM as a function of solar phase angle.

  19. CO2 Orbital Trends in Comets (United States)

    Kelley, Michael; Feaga, Lori; Bodewits, Dennis; McKay, Adam; Snodgrass, Colin; Wooden, Diane


    Spacecraft missions to comets return a treasure trove of details of their targets, e.g., the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Deep Impact experiment at comet 9P/Tempel 1, or even the flyby of C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) at Mars. Yet, missions are rare, the diversity of comets is large, few comets are easily accessible, and comet flybys essentially return snapshots of their target nuclei. Thus, telescopic observations are necessary to place the mission data within the context of each comet's long-term behavior, and to further connect mission results to the comet population as a whole. We propose a large Cycle 11 project to study the long-term activity of past and potential future mission targets, and select bright Oort cloud comets to infer comet nucleus properties, which would otherwise require flyby missions. In the classical comet model, cometary mass loss is driven by the sublimation of water ice. However, recent discoveries suggest that the more volatile CO and CO2 ices are the likely drivers of some comet active regions. Surprisingly, CO2 drove most of the activity of comet Hartley 2 at only 1 AU from the Sun where vigorous water ice sublimation would be expected to dominate. Currently, little is known about the role of CO2 in comet activity because telluric absorptions prohibit monitoring from the ground. In our Cycle 11 project, we will study the CO2 activity of our targets through IRAC photometry. In conjunction with prior observations of CO2 and CO, as well as future data sets (JWST) and ongoing Earth-based projects led by members of our team, we will investigate both long-term activity trends in our target comets, with a particular goal to ascertain the connections between each comet's coma and nucleus.

  20. Discovery of M class objects among the near-earth asteroid population (United States)

    Tedesco, Edward F.; Gradie, Jonathan


    Broadband colorimetry, visual photometry, near-infrared photometry, and 10 and 20 micron radiometry of the near-earth asteroids (NEAs) 1986 DA and 1986 EB are used to show that these objects belong to the M class of asteroids. The similarity among the distributions of taxonomic classes among the 38 NEAs to the abundances found in the inner astoroid belt between the 3:1 and 5:2 resonances suggests that NEAs have their origins among asteroids in the vicinity of these resonances. The implied mineralogy of 1986 DA and 1986 EB is mostly nickel-iron metal; if this is indeed the case, then current models for meteorite production based on strength-related collisional processes on asteroidal surfaces predict that these two objects alone should produce about one percent of all meteorite falls. Iron meteorites derived from these near-earth asteroids should have low cosmic-ray exposure ages.

  1. Developing an Asteroid Rotational Theory (United States)

    Geis, Gena; Williams, Miguel; Linder, Tyler; Pakey, Donald


    The goal of this project is to develop a theoretical asteroid rotational theory from first principles. Starting at first principles provides a firm foundation for computer simulations which can be used to analyze multiple variables at once such as size, rotation period, tensile strength, and density. The initial theory will be presented along with early models of applying the theory to the asteroid population. Early results confirm previous work by Pravec et al. (2002) that show the majority of the asteroids larger than 200m have negligible tensile strength and have spin rates close to their critical breakup point. Additionally, results show that an object with zero tensile strength has a maximum rotational rate determined by the object’s density, not size. Therefore, an iron asteroid with a density of 8000 kg/m^3 would have a minimum spin period of 1.16h if the only forces were gravitational and centrifugal. The short-term goal is to include material forces in the simulations to determine what tensile strength will allow the high spin rates of asteroids smaller than 150m.


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is a collection of asteroid polarimetry results compiled by D.F. Lupishko and S.V. Vasiliev of Karazin Kharkiv National...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Photometric Catalog (3rd update), Lagerkvist,, 1993 [LAGERKVISTETAL1993], is a compilation of all asteroid lightcurve photometry published up to...

  4. ASTEROID RADAR V18.0 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set is intended to include all published groundbased asteroid radar detections. The file is based on the collection of asteroid radar detections...

  5. ASTEROID RADAR V17.0 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set is intended to include all published groundbased asteroid radar detections. The file is based on the collection of asteroid radar detections...

  6. ASTEROID RADAR V15.0 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set is intended to include all published groundbased asteroid radar detections. The file is based on the collection of asteroid radar detections...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This is a compilation of the family memberships of numbered asteroids in five different asteroid family analyses. These include the analyses of Zappala et al.,...

  8. ASTEROID RADAR V16.0 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set is intended to include all published groundbased asteroid radar detections. The file is based on the collection of asteroid radar detections...

  9. The small binary asteroid (939) Isberga

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Carry, B.; Matter, A.; Scheirich, Peter; Pravec, Petr; Molnar, L.; Mottola, S.; Carbognani, A.; Jehin, E.; Marciniak, A.; Binzel, R. P.; DeMeo, E.F.; Birlan, M.; Delbó, M.; Barbotin, E.; Behrend, R.; Bonnardeau, M.; Colas, F.; Farissier, P.; Fauvaud, M.; Fauvaud, S.; Gillier, C.; Gillon, M.; Hellmich, S.; Hirsch, R.; Leroy, A.; Manfroid, J.; Montier, J.; Morelle, E.; Richard, F.; Sobkowiak, K.; Strajnic, J.; Vachier, F.


    Roč. 248, March (2015), s. 516-525 ISSN 0019-1035 Institutional support: RVO:67985815 Keywords : asteroids * dynamics * satellites of asteroids Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.383, year: 2015


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is a collection of asteroid polarimetry results compiled by D.F. Lupishko and S.V. Vasiliev of Karazin Kharkiv National...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is a collection of asteroid polarimetry results compiled by D.F. Lupishko of Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine....


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is a collection of asteroid polarimetry results compiled by D.F. Lupishko of Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine....


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains UBVRI polarimetric measurements of ten main belt asteroids and one potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid (NEA), from Belskaya et al....


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Photometric Catalog (3rd update), Lagerkvist,, 1993 [LAGERKVISTETAL1993], is a compilation of all asteroid lightcurve photometry published up to...

  15. Infrared techniques for comet observations (United States)

    Hanner, Martha S.; Tokunaga, Alan T.


    The infrared spectral region (1-1000 microns) is important for studies of both molecules and solid grains in comets. Infrared astronomy is in the midst of a technological revolution, with the development of sensitive 2D arrays leading to IR cameras and spectrometers with vastly improved sensitivity and resolution. The Halley campaign gave us tantalizing first glimpses of the comet science possible with this new technology, evidenced, for example, by the many new spectral features detected in the infrared. The techniques of photometry, imaging, and spectroscopy are reviewed in this chapter and their status at the time of the Halley observations is described.

  16. Impacts into porous asteroids (United States)

    Housen, Kevin R.; Sweet, William J.; Holsapple, Keith A.


    Many small bodies in the solar system have bulk density well below the solid density of the constituent mineral grains in their meteorite counterparts. Those low-density bodies undoubtedly have significant porosity, which is a key factor that affects the formation of impact craters. This paper summarizes the results of lab experiments in which materials with porosity ranging from 43% to 96% were impacted at ∼1800 m/s. The experiments were performed on a geotechnical centrifuge, in order to reproduce the lithostatic overburden stress and ejecta ballistics that occur in large-scale cratering events on asteroids or planetary satellites. Experiments performed at various accelerations, up to 514G, simulate the outcomes of impacts at size scales up to several tens of km in diameter. Our experiments show that an impact into a highly porous cohesionless material generates a large ovoid-shaped cavity, due to crushing by the outgoing shock. The cavity opens up to form a transient crater that grows until the material flow is arrested by gravity. The cavity then collapses to form the final crater. During collapse, finely crushed material that lines the cavity wall is carried down and collected in a localized region below the final crater floor. At large simulated sizes (high accelerations), most of the crater volume is formed by compaction, because growth of the transient crater is quickly arrested. Nearly all ejected material falls back into the crater, leaving the crater without an ejecta blanket. We find that such compaction cratering and suppression of the ejecta blankets occur for large craters on porous bodies when the ratio of the lithostatic stress at one crater depth to the crush strength of the target exceeds ∼0.005. The results are used to identify small solar system bodies on which compaction cratering likely occurs. A model is developed that gives the crater size and ejecta mass that would result for a specified impact into a porous object.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wiktorowicz, Sloane J.; Nofi, Larissa A., E-mail: [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)


    From a single 3.8 hr observation of the asteroid (4) Vesta at 13.°7 phase angle with the POlarimeter at Lick for Inclination Studies of Hot jupiters 2 (POLISH2) at the Lick Observatory Shane 3 m telescope, we confirm rotational modulation of linear polarization in the B and V bands. We measure the peak-to-peak modulation in the degree of linear polarization to be ΔP = (294 ± 35) × 10{sup −6} (ppm) and time-averaged ΔP/P = 0.0575 ± 0.0069. After rotating the plane of linear polarization to the scattering plane, asteroidal rotational modulation is detected with 12σ confidence and observed solely in Stokes Q/I. POLISH2 simultaneously measures Stokes I, Q, U (linear polarization), and V (circular polarization), but we detect no significant circular polarization with a 1σ upper limit of 78 ppm in the B band. Circular polarization is expected to arise from multiple scattering of sunlight by rough surfaces, and it has previously been detected in nearly all other classes of solar system bodies except for asteroids. Subsequent observations may be compared with surface albedo maps from the Dawn Mission, which may allow the identification of compositional variation across the asteroidal surface. These results demonstrate the high accuracy achieved by POLISH2 at the Lick 3 m telescope, which is designed to directly detect scattered light from spatially unresolvable exoplanets.

  18. Identification, Calculation Of The Three Dimensional Orbit, And Flux Of Asteroid 2007 TD14 (United States)

    Pereira, Vincent; Martin, E.; Millan, J.


    In recent years the rate of discovery of asteroids has improved dramatically and has far outstripped efforts to physically characterize them. In this work, we took part in the International Astronomical Search Campaign and confirmed the discovery of asteroid 2007 TD14. We then calculated the two and three dimensional orbit of the asteroid around the sun, given its six elements of orbit. Once the heliocentric and geocentric distances are known, and the visual magnitude of the asteroid obtained through photometry, its diameter can be calculated assuming a suitable value for the albedo. The diameter was 0.718 km and the albedo was 0.039. Using the Standard Thermal Model we calculated the temperature distribution on the surface of the asteroid and the flux of the asteroid in the thermal infrared (1.095 mJy at 22 microns on March 19, 2010). To the best of our knowledge there have been no previous reports of the diameter and flux of the asteroid. Our ultimate goal is to compare our flux values with newly released data from NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer Mission and thus obtain better estimates of the asteroid diameter and albedo.

  19. Incoming asteroid! what could we do about it?

    CERN Document Server

    Lunan, Duncan


    Lately there have been more and more news stories on objects from space – such as asteroids, comets, and meteors – whizzing past Earth. One even exploded in the atmosphere over a Russian city in 2012, causing real damage and injuries. Impacts are not uncommon in our Solar System, even on Earth, and people are beginning to realize that we must prepare for such an event here on Earth.   What if we knew there was going to be an impact in 10 years’ time? What could we do? It’s not so far in the future that we can ignore the threat, and not so soon that nothing could be done. The author and his colleagues set out to explore how they could turn aside a rock asteroid, one kilometer in diameter, within this 10-year timescale.   Having set themselves this challenge, they identified the steps that might be taken, using technologies that are currently under development or proposed. They considered an unmanned mission, a follow-up manned mission, and a range of final options, along with ways to reduce the worst...

  20. ATLAS: Finding the Nearest Asteroids (United States)

    Heinze, Aren; Tonry, John L.; Denneau, Larry; Stalder, Brian


    The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) became fully operational in June 2017. Our two robotic, 0.5 meter telescopes survey the whole accessible sky every two nights from the Hawaiian mountains of Haleakala and Mauna Loa. With sensitivity to magnitude 19.5 over a field of 30 square degrees, we discover several bright near-Earth objects every month - particularly fast moving asteroids, which can slip by other surveys that scan the sky more slowly. Several important developments in 2017 have enhanced our sensitivity to small, nearby asteroids and potential impactors. We report on these developments - including optical adjustments, automated screening of detections, closer temporal spacing of images, and tolerance for large deviations from Great Circle motion on the sky - and we describe their effect in terms of measuring and discovering real objects.

  1. Comet Mineralogy as Inferred from Infrared Spectra of Comets (United States)

    Wooden, Diane H.


    For most comets, infrared (IR) spectroscopy (remote sensing) is the method through which we diagnose the mineralogy and size distribution of dust in their comae. The shape and contrast of the IR spectral features depend on the particle size: optically active minerals (absorbing of visible and near-IR solar photons) and submicron solid grains or highly porous (> 90% vacuum) grains primarily contribute to the shapes of the observed resonances. Comet mineralogies typically are determined by fitting thermal emission models of ensembles of discrete mineral grains to observed IR spectral energy distributions. The absorptivities (Q-abs) and scattering efficiencies (Q-scat) of the discrete mineral grains are computed using Mie scattering, Maxwell-Garnet mixing, Discrete Dipole Approximation, and Multi-Layered Sphere codes. These techniques when applied to crystalline minerals, specifically olivine (Mg_x, Fe_1-x)2 Si04, x>0.9, require the use of ellipsoidal shaped particles with elongated axial ratios or hollow spheres to produce the shapes of the resonances observed both from comet comae and laboratory samples. The wavelength positions of the distinct resonances from submicron-radii crystalline silicates, as well as their thermal equilibrium temperatures, constrain the crystalline olivine to have a relatively high Mg-content (x>0.9, or Fo>90). Only resonances computed for submicron Mg-rich crystalline olivine and crystalline orthopyroxene match the observed IR spectral features. However, this has led to the interpretation that micron-radii and larger crystals are absent from comet comae. Furthermore, the mass fraction of silicate crystals is dependent upon whether just the submicron portion of the size distribution is being compared or the submicron crystals compare to the aggregates of porous amorphous silicates that are computationally tractable as porous spheres. We will discuss the Deep Impact results as examples of these challenges to interpreting mid-IR spectra of

  2. Injection of large grains into orbits around comet nuclei. (United States)

    Fulle, M.


    Starting from the nucleus surface, the motion of dust boulders of diameters larger than the solar radiation pressure resonance size (Richter & Keller, 1995Icar..114..355R) is investigated by numerical integration of the motion equation for times larger than the comet orbital period. The motion equation takes into account the comet nucleus gravity force, the solar gravity force, the solar radiation pressure force and the gas drag force acting on the test particle. The ejection anisotropy and the gas loss rate are assumed to be power laws of the solar zenithal angle cosine and of the sun comet distance, respectively. We search for the ejection cometocentric coordinate values corresponding to a final motion bound around the comet nucleus, and, for each starting coordinate, we investigate when the gas drag is strong enough to lift the grain from the nucleus surface, thus determining the ejection time of the grain. Then, we compute the fraction of grains in bound orbits in the hypothesis of a nucleus which corotates with its orbital motion. The convolution of this fraction with the dust number loss rate and the dust size distribution provides an estimate of the total dust mass orbiting around the comet nucleus in a stable debris cloud, and its size and mass distributions. The model is applied to comets 1P/Halley and 46P/Wirtanen, the targets of the GIOTTO and ROSETTA missions, respectively. For both comets, the debris cloud mass is insensitive to a dust size distribution power index between -3.3 and -3.7 (Fulle et al. 1995). For 1P/Halley, the mass fraction in the cloud is between 1.3% and 1.7%, the mean radius of the cloud is 500km, and the boulder sizes range from 0.1m to 4m. For 46P/Wirtanen, the mass fraction in the cloud is between 0.07% and 0.1%, the cloud mean radius is 200km, and the boulder sizes range from 0.1m to 0.3m. For both comets, the mean number density in the cloud is close to one boulder per 100km^3^. This last estimate is the only one which depends

  3. Finding Long Lost Lexell's Comet: The Fate of the First Discovered Near-Earth Object (United States)

    Ye, Quan-Zhi; Wiegert, Paul A.; Hui, Man-To


    Jupiter-family Comet D/1770 L1 (Lexell) was the first discovered Near-Earth Object (NEO) and passed the Earth on 1770 July 1 at a recorded distance of 0.015 au. The comet was subsequently lost due to unfavorable observing circumstances during its next apparition followed by a close encounter with Jupiter in 1779. Since then, the fate of D/Lexell has attracted interest from the scientific community, and now we revisit this long-standing question. We investigate the dynamical evolution of D/Lexell based on a set of orbits recalculated using the observations made by Charles Messier, the comet’s discoverer, and find that there is a 98% chance that D/Lexell remains in the solar system by the year of 2000. This finding remains valid even if a moderate non-gravitational effect is imposed. Messier’s observations also suggest that the comet is one of the largest known near-Earth comets, with a nucleus of ≳10 km in diameter. This implies that the comet should have been detected by contemporary NEO surveys regardless of its activity level if it has remained in the inner solar system. We identify asteroid 2010 JL33 as a possible descendant of D/Lexell, with a 0.8% probability of chance alignment, but a direct orbital linkage of the two bodies has not been successfully accomplished. We also use the recalculated orbit to investigate the meteors potentially originating from D/Lexell. While no associated meteors have been unambiguously detected, we show that meteor observations can be used to better constrain the orbit of D/Lexell despite the comet being long lost.

  4. The COMET Sleep Research Platform. (United States)

    Nichols, Deborah A; DeSalvo, Steven; Miller, Richard A; Jónsson, Darrell; Griffin, Kara S; Hyde, Pamela R; Walsh, James K; Kushida, Clete A


    The Comparative Outcomes Management with Electronic Data Technology (COMET) platform is extensible and designed for facilitating multicenter electronic clinical research. Our research goals were the following: (1) to conduct a comparative effectiveness trial (CET) for two obstructive sleep apnea treatments-positive airway pressure versus oral appliance therapy; and (2) to establish a new electronic network infrastructure that would support this study and other clinical research studies. The COMET platform was created to satisfy the needs of CET with a focus on creating a platform that provides comprehensive toolsets, multisite collaboration, and end-to-end data management. The platform also provides medical researchers the ability to visualize and interpret data using business intelligence (BI) tools. COMET is a research platform that is scalable and extensible, and which, in a future version, can accommodate big data sets and enable efficient and effective research across multiple studies and medical specialties. The COMET platform components were designed for an eventual move to a cloud computing infrastructure that enhances sustainability, overall cost effectiveness, and return on investment.

  5. Comet C/2001 J1

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pravec, Petr; Helin, E.; Lawrence, K.; Kotková, Lenka; Tichá, J.; Tichý, M.

    č. 7623 (2001), s. 1 ISSN 0081-0304 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/99/0255 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z1003909 Keywords : comets * astrometry Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics

  6. MEST-Do the ``rubble-pile'' asteroid-1950 DA, with low 1700 kg/m3 density, has a structure with spacetime center? (United States)

    Cao, Dayong


    According to Einstein's equation and observation of flat universe, the paper gives new ideas both of dark massenergy and spacetime center, and supporses that some asteroids were comets which have spacetime center, and some comets were wraped up by rock in 2012. It explains of a observation about low density of the asteroid-1950 DA by spacetime center of the asteroid. (see Ben Rozitis, ``Cohesive forces prevent the rotational breakup of rubble-pile asteroid (29075) 1950 DA,'' http://www. / nature / journal / v512 / n7513/full/nature13632.html) It also can explain of a rock hull of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. (see Jonathan O'Callaghan, ``Comets are like deep fried ICE CREAM: Nasa ice-box experiment confirms 67P is hard on the outside but fluffy on the inside,'' (See Dayong Cao, ``MEST-The dark hole, dark comet and dark matter are the space-time center'' and ``MEST- avoid next extinction by a space-time effect'')

  7. Asteroids 87887-415992: the youngest known asteroid pair?

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Žižka, J.; Galád, A.; Vokrouhlický, D.; Pravec, Petr; Kušnirák, Peter; Hornoch, Kamil


    Roč. 595, November (2016), A20/1-A20/11 ISSN 0004-6361 R&D Projects: GA ČR GAP209/12/0229 Institutional support: RVO:67985815 Keywords : celestial mechanics * minor planets * asteroids Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 4.378, year: 2014

  8. Comets as Messengers from the Early Solar System - Emerging Insights on Delivery of Water, Nitriles, and Organics to Earth (United States)

    Mumma, Michael J.; Charnley, Steven B.


    The question of exogenous delivery of water and organics to Earth and other young planets is of critical importance for understanding the origin of Earth's volatiles, and for assessing the possible existence of exo-planets similar to Earth. Viewed from a cosmic perspective, Earth is a dry planet, yet its oceans are enriched in deuterium by a large factor relative to nebular hydrogen and analogous isotopic enrichments in atmospheric nitrogen and noble gases are also seen. Why is this so? What are the implications for Mars? For icy Worlds in our Planetary System? For the existence of Earth-like exoplanets? An exogenous (vs. outgassed) origin for Earth's atmosphere is implied, and intense debate on the relative contributions of comets and asteroids continues - renewed by fresh models for dynamical transport in the protoplanetary disk, by revelations on the nature and diversity of volatile and rocky material within comets, and by the discovery of ocean-like water in a comet from the Kuiper Belt (cf., Mumma & Charnley 2011). Assessing the creation of conditions favorable to the emergence and sustenance of life depends critically on knowledge of the nature of the impacting bodies. Active comets have long been grouped according to their orbital properties, and this has proven useful for identifying the reservoir from which a given comet emerged (OC, KB) (Levison 1996). However, it is now clear that icy bodies were scattered into each reservoir from a range of nebular distances, and the comet populations in today's reservoirs thus share origins that are (in part) common. Comets from the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Disk reservoirs should have diverse composition, resulting from strong gradients in temperature and chemistry in the proto-planetary disk, coupled with dynamical models of early radial transport and mixing with later dispersion of the final cometary nuclei into the long-term storage reservoirs. The inclusion of material from the natal interstellar cloud is probable

  9. Properties of the moon, Mars, Martian satellites, and near-earth asteroids (United States)

    Taylor, Jeffrey G.

    Environments and surface properties of the moon, Mars, Martian satellites, and near-earth asteroids are discussed. Topics include gravity, atmospheres, surface properties, surface compositions, seismicity, radiation environment, degradation, use of robotics, and environmental impacts. Gravity fields vary from large fractions of the earth's field such as 1/3 on Mars and 1/6 on the moon to smaller fractions of 0.0004 g on an asteroid 1 km in diameter. Spectral data and the analogy with meteor compositions suggest that near-earth asteroids may contain many resources such as water-rich carbonaceous materials and iron-rich metallic bodies. It is concluded that future mining and materials processing operations from extraterrestrial bodies require an investment now in both (1) missions to the moon, Mars, Phobos, Deimos, and near-earth asteroids and (2) earth-based laboratory research in materials and processing.

  10. Modeling Formaldehyde Emission in Comets (United States)

    Disanti, M. A.; Reuter, D. C.; Bonev, B. P.; Mumma, M. J.; Villanueva, G. L.

    Modeling fluorescent emission from monomeric formaldehyde (H2CO) forms an integral part of our overall comprehensive program of measuring the volatile composition of comets through high-resolution (RP ~ 25,000) infrared spectroscopy using CSHELL at the IRTF and NIRSPEC at Keck II. The H2CO spectra contain lines from both the nu1 (symmetric CH2 stretch) and nu5 (asymmetric CH2 stretch) bands near 3.6 microns. We have acquired high-quality spectra of twelve Oort cloud comets, and at least six of these show clear emission from H2CO. We also detected H2CO with NIRSPEC in one Jupiter Family comet, 9P/Tempel 1, during Deep Impact observations. Our H2CO model, originally developed to interpret low-resolution spectra of comets Halley and Wilson (Reuter et al. 1989 Ap J 341:1045), predicts individual line intensities (g-factors) as a function of rotational temperature for approximately 1300 lines having energies up to approximately 400 cm^-1 above the ground state. Recently, it was validated through comparison with CSHELL spectra of C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), where newly developed analyses were applied to obtain robust determinations of both the rotational temperature and abundance of H2CO (DiSanti et al. 2006 Ap J 650:470). We are currently in the process of extending the model to higher rotational energy (i.e., higher rotational quantum number) in an attempt to improve the fit to high-J lines in our spectra of C/T7 and other comets. Results will be presented, and implications discussed.Modeling fluorescent emission from monomeric formaldehyde (H2CO) forms an integral part of our overall comprehensive program of measuring the volatile composition of comets through high-resolution (RP ~ 25,000) infrared spectroscopy using CSHELL at the IRTF and NIRSPEC at Keck II. The H2CO spectra contain lines from both the nu1 (symmetric CH2 stretch) and nu5 (asymmetric CH2 stretch) bands near 3.6 microns. We have acquired high-quality spectra of twelve Oort cloud comets, and at least six of

  11. The Rosetta mission: Clues on the origin of comet nuclei (United States)

    Davidsson, Bjorn; Stern, S. Alan; Kofman, Wlodek; Hilchenbach, Martin; rotundi, alessandra; Bentley, Mark; Hofstadter, Mark; Sierks, Holger; Altwegg, Kathrin; Nilsson, Hans; Burch, James L.; Eriksson, Anders I.; Glassmeier, Karl-Heinz; Henri, Pierre; Carr, Christopher M.; Pätzold, Martin; Capaccioni, Fabrizio; Boehnhardt, Hermann; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Fulle, Marco; Fulchignoni, Marcello; Gruen, Eberhard; Weissman, Paul R.; Taylor, Matt; Buratti, Bonnie J.; Choukroun, Mathieu; Altobelli, Nicolas; Snodgrass, Colin; Rosetta Science Working Team


    The Rosetta mission has been taking measurements of its target Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sinceearly 2014 and will complete operations at the end of September 2016. The mission Science Management Plan,in 1994, laid out the the prime goals and themes of the mission. These five themes were:1) To study the global characterization of the Nucleus, the determination of the dynamics properties ,surface morphology and composition of the comet.2) Examination of the Chemical, Mineralogical and isotopic compositions of volatiles and refractoriesin a cometary nucleus.3) Physical interrelation of volatile and refractories in a cometary nucleus4) Study the development of cometary activity and the process in the surface layer of thenucleus and in the inner coma5) The origins of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and theimplications for the origin of the solar system,To cover all aspects of the Rosetta mission in this special Show case session, this abstracts isone of 5, with this particular presentation focusing on theme 5.Several scenarios for comet nucleus formation have been proposed, such as hierarchical agglomeration,or gravitational collapse of pebble swarms created either by turbulent eddies or by streaming instabilities.In addition, the question of survival of such primordial nuclei versus severe collisional processinghas been debated. The pros and cons of these hypotheses are discussed in the light of Rosetta's discoveries.

  12. Comets as Parent Bodies of CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites and Possible Habitats of Ice-Microbiota (United States)

    Wickramasinghe, N. Chandra; Wallis, Daryl H.; Rozanov, Alexei Yu.; Hoover, Richard B.


    Recent studies of comets and cometary dust have confirmed the presence of biologically relevant organic molecules along with clay minerals and water ice. It is also now well established by deuterium/hydrogen ratios that the CI1 carbonaceous meteorites contain indigenous extraterrestrial water. The evidence of extensive aqueous alteration of the minerals in these meteorites led to the hypothesis that water-bearing asteroids or comets represent the parent bodies of the CI1 (and perhaps CM2) carbonaceous meteorites. These meteorites have also been shown to possess a diverse array of complex organics and chiral and morphological biomarkers. Stable isotope studies by numerous independent investigators have conclusively established that the complex organics found in these meteorites are both indigenous and extraterrestrial in nature. Although the origin of these organics is still unknown, some researchers have suggested that they originated by unknown abiotic mechanisms and may have played a role in the delivery of chiral biomolecules and the origin of life on Early Earth. In this paper we review these results and investigate the thermal history of comets. We show that permanent as well as transient domains of liquid water can be maintained on a comet under a plausible set of assumptions. With each perihelion passage of a comet volatiles are preferentially released, and during millions of such passages the comet could shed crustal debris that may survive transit through the Earth s atmosphere as a carbonaceous meteorite. We review the current state of knowledge of comets and carbonaceous meteorites. We also present the results of recent studies on the long-term viability of terrestrial ice-microbiota encased in ancient glacial ice and permafrost. We suggest that the conditions which have been observed to prevail on many comets do not preclude either survivability (or even the active metabolism and growth) of many types of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbial

  13. Spectral Classification of Asteroids by Random Forest (United States)

    Huang, Chao; Ma, Yue-hua; Zhao, Hai-bin; Lu, Xiao-ping


    With the increasing spectral and photometric data of asteroids, a variety of classification methods for asteroids have been proposed. This paper classifies asteroids based on the observations in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Moving Object Catalogue (MOC) by using the random forest algorithm. In combination with the present taxonomies of Tholen, Bus, Lazzaro, and DeMeo, and the principal component analysis, we have classified 48642 asteroids according to their SDSS magnitudes at the g, r, i, and z wavebands. In this way, these asteroids are divided into 8 (C, X, S, B, D, K, L, and V) classes.

  14. Spectral Classification of Asteroids by Random Forest (United States)

    Huang, C.; Ma, Y. H.; Zhao, H. B.; Lu, X. P.


    With the increasing asteroid spectral and photometric data, a variety of classification methods for asteroids have been proposed. This paper classifies asteroids based on the observations of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Moving Object Catalogue (MOC) by using the random forest algorithm. With the training data derived from the taxonomies of Tholen, Bus, Lazzaro, DeMeo, and Principal Component Analysis, we classify 48642 asteroids according to g, r, i, and z SDSS magnitudes. In this way, asteroids are divided into 8 spectral classes (C, X, S, B, D, K, L, and V).

  15. Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission: Robotic Boulder Capture Option Overview (United States)

    Mazanek, Daniel D.; Merrill, Raymond G.; Belbin, Scott P.; Reeves, David M.; Earle, Kevin D.; Naasz, Bo J.; Abell, Paul A.


    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently studying an option for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM) that would capture a multi-ton boulder (typically 2-4 meters in size) from the surface of a large (is approximately 100+ meter) Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) and return it to cislunar space for subsequent human and robotic exploration. This alternative mission approach, designated the Robotic Boulder Capture Option (Option B), has been investigated to determine the mission feasibility and identify potential differences from the initial ARRM concept of capturing an entire small NEA (4-10 meters in size), which has been designated the Small Asteroid Capture Option (Option A). Compared to the initial ARRM concept, Option B allows for centimeter-level characterization over an entire large NEA, the certainty of target NEA composition type, the ability to select the boulder that is captured, numerous opportunities for mission enhancements to support science objectives, additional experience operating at a low-gravity planetary body including extended surface contact, and the ability to demonstrate future planetary defense strategies on a hazardous-size NEA. Option B can leverage precursor missions and existing Agency capabilities to help ensure mission success by targeting wellcharacterized asteroids and can accommodate uncertain programmatic schedules by tailoring the return mass.

  16. Physical properties of Aten, Apollo and Amor asteroids (United States)

    Mcfadden, Lucy-Ann; Tholen, David J.; Veeder, Glenn J.


    Data available on the physical properties of a group of planet-crossing asteroids, the Aten, Apollo, and Amor objects (AAAO) (include data on the taxonomy, mineralogical surface composition, diameter, rotation rate, shape, and surface texture) are presented together with the type of observations used for obtaining these data. These data show that the population of the AAAO is diverse in all of their physical characteristics. This diversity implies that the AAAO come from multiple sources and had different evolutionary histories.

  17. Size-dependent modification of asteroid family Yarkovsky V-shapes (United States)

    Bolin, B. T.; Morbidelli, A.; Walsh, K. J.


    Context. The thermal properties of the surfaces of asteroids determine the magnitude of the drift rate cause by the Yarkovsky force. In the general case of Main Belt asteroids, the Yarkovsky force is indirectly proportional to the thermal inertia, Γ. Aim. Following the proposed relationship between Γ and asteroid diameter D, we find that asteroids' Yarkovsky drift rates might have a more complex size dependence than previous thought, leading to a curved family V-shape boundary in semi-major axis, a, vs. 1/D space. This implies that asteroids are drifting faster at larger sizes than previously considered decreasing on average the known ages of asteroid families. Methods: The V-Shape curvature is determined for >25 families located throughout the Main Belt to quantify the Yarkovsky size-dependent drift rate. Results: We find that there is no correlation between family age and V-shape curvature. In addition, the V-shape curvature decreases for asteroid families with larger heliocentric distances suggesting that the relationship between Γ and D is weaker in the outer MB possibly due to homogenous surface roughness among family members.

  18. Simultaneous Mass Determination for Gravitationally Coupled Asteroids

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baer, James [Private address, 3210 Apache Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15241 (United States); Chesley, Steven R., E-mail: [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)


    The conventional least-squares asteroid mass determination algorithm allows us to solve for the mass of a large subject asteroid that is perturbing the trajectory of a smaller test asteroid. However, this algorithm is necessarily a first approximation, ignoring the possibility that the subject asteroid may itself be perturbed by the test asteroid, or that the encounter’s precise geometry may be entangled with encounters involving other asteroids. After reviewing the conventional algorithm, we use it to calculate the masses of 30 main-belt asteroids. Compared to our previous results, we find new mass estimates for eight asteroids (11 Parthenope, 27 Euterpe, 51 Neimausa, 76 Freia, 121 Hermione, 324 Bamberga, 476 Hedwig, and 532 Herculina) and significantly more precise estimates for six others (2 Pallas, 3 Juno, 4 Vesta, 9 Metis, 16 Psyche, and 88 Thisbe). However, we also find that the conventional algorithm yields questionable results in several gravitationally coupled cases. To address such cases, we describe a new algorithm that allows the epoch state vectors of the subject asteroids to be included as solve-for parameters, allowing for the simultaneous solution of the masses and epoch state vectors of multiple subject and test asteroids. We then apply this algorithm to the same 30 main-belt asteroids and conclude that mass determinations resulting from current and future high-precision astrometric sources (such as Gaia ) should conduct a thorough search for possible gravitational couplings and account for their effects.

  19. Significance analysis of asteroid pairs

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pravec, Petr; Vokrouhlický, D.


    Roč. 204, č. 2 (2009), s. 580-588 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/09/1107 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroid s * dynamics * pairs Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.340, year: 2009

  20. Hayabusa2 mission target asteroid (162173) 1999 JU_3: Searching for the object's spin-axis orientation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Müller, T.; Durech, J.; Mueller, M.; Kiss, C.; Vilenius, E.; Ishiguro, M.


    The JAXA Hayabusa2 mission was approved in 2011 with launch planned for late 2014. Arriving at the asteroid (162173) 1999 JU_3 in 2018, it will survey it, land, and obtain surface material, then depart in late 2019, and return to the Earth in December 2020. We observed the near-Earth asteroid 1999

  1. Can Asteroid Airbursts Cause Dangerous Tsunami?.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boslough, Mark B. [Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)


    I have performed a series of high-resolution hydrocode simulations to generate “source functions” for tsunami simulations as part of a proof-of-principle effort to determine whether or not the downward momentum from an asteroid airburst can couple energy into a dangerous tsunami in deep water. My new CTH simulations show enhanced momentum multiplication relative to a nuclear explosion of the same yield. Extensive sensitivity and convergence analyses demonstrate that results are robust and repeatable for simulations with sufficiently high resolution using adaptive mesh refinement. I have provided surface overpressure and wind velocity fields to tsunami modelers to use as time-dependent boundary conditions and to test the hypothesis that this mechanism can enhance the strength of the resulting shallow-water wave. The enhanced momentum result suggests that coupling from an over-water plume-forming airburst could be a more efficient tsunami source mechanism than a collapsing impact cavity or direct air blast alone, but not necessarily due to the originally-proposed mechanism. This result has significant implications for asteroid impact risk assessment and airburst-generated tsunami will be the focus of a NASA-sponsored workshop at the Ames Research Center next summer, with follow-on funding expected.

  2. Human Exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids and Sample Collection Considerations (United States)

    Abell, Paul


    In 2009 the Augustine Commission identified near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) as high profile destinations for human exploration missions beyond the Earth-Moon system as part of the Flexible Path. Subsequently, the U.S. presidential administration directed NASA on April 15, 2010 to include NEAs as destinations for future human exploration with the goal of sending astronauts to a NEA in the mid to late 2020s. This directive became part of the official National Space Policy of the United States of America as of June 28, 2010. Human Exploration Considerations: These missions would be the first human expeditions to interplanetary bodies beyond the Earth-Moon system and would prove useful for testing technologies required for human missions to Mars, Phobos and Deimos, and other Solar System destinations. Missions to NEAs would undoubtedly provide a great deal of technical and engineering data on spacecraft operations for future human space exploration while conducting in-depth scientific examinations of these primitive objects. However, prior to sending human explorers to NEAs, robotic investigations of these bodies would be required in order to maximize operational efficiency and reduce mission risk. These precursor missions to NEAs would fill crucial strategic knowledge gaps concerning their physical characteristics that are relevant for human exploration of these relatively unknown destinations. Sample Science Benefits: Information obtained from a human investigation of a NEA, together with ground-based observations and prior spacecraft investigations of asteroids and comets, will also provide a real measure of ground truth to data obtained from terrestrial meteorite collections. Major advances in the areas of geochemistry, impact history, thermal history, isotope analyses, mineralogy, space weathering, formation ages, thermal inertias, volatile content, source regions, solar system formation, etc. can be expected from human NEA missions. Samples directly returned from a

  3. Interplanetary Trajectory Design for the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission Alternate Approach Trade Study (United States)

    Merrill, Raymond Gabriel; Qu, Min; Vavrina, Matthew A.; Englander, Jacob A.; Jones, Christopher A.


    This paper presents mission performance analysis methods and results for the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM) option to capture a free standing boulder on the surface of a 100 m or larger NEA. It details the optimization and design of heliocentric low-thrust trajectories to asteroid targets for the ARRM solar electric propulsion spacecraft. Extensive searches were conducted to determine asteroid targets with large pick-up mass potential and potential observation opportunities. Interplanetary trajectory approximations were developed in method based tools for Itokawa, Bennu, 1999 JU3, and 2008 EV5 and were validated by end-to-end integrated trajectories.

  4. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission: The Boulder Capture Option (United States)

    Abell, Paul; Nuth, Joseph A.; Mazanek, Dan D.; Merrill, Raymond G.; Reeves, David M.; Naasz, Bo J.


    NASA is examining two options for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which will return asteroid material to a Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (LDRO) using a robotic solar-electric-propulsion spacecraft, called the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV). Once the ARV places the asteroid material into the LDRO, a piloted mission will rendezvous and dock with the ARV. After docking, astronauts will conduct two extravehicular activities (EVAs) to inspect and sample the asteroid material before returning to Earth. One option involves capturing an entire small (˜4-10 m diameter) near-Earth asteroid (NEA) inside a large inflatable bag. However, NASA is examining another option that entails retrieving a boulder (˜1-5 m) via robotic manipulators from the surface of a larger (˜100+ m) pre-characterized NEA. This option can leverage robotic mission data to help ensure success by targeting previously (or soon to be) well-characterized NEAs. For example, the data from the Hayabusa mission has been utilized to develop detailed mission designs that assess options and risks associated with proximity and surface operations. Hayabusa’s target NEA, Itokawa, has been identified as a valid target and is known to possess hundreds of appropriately sized boulders on its surface. Further robotic characterization of additional NEAs (e.g., Bennu and 1999 JU3) by NASA’s OSIRIS REx and JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 missions is planned to begin in 2018. The boulder option is an extremely large sample-return mission with the prospect of bringing back many tons of well-characterized asteroid material to the Earth-Moon system. The candidate boulder from the target NEA can be selected based on inputs from the world-wide science community, ensuring that the most scientifically interesting boulder be returned for subsequent sampling. This boulder option for NASA’s ARM can leverage knowledge of previously characterized NEAs from prior robotic missions, which provides more certainty of the target NEA

  5. Rationalization of Comet Halley's periods (United States)

    Belton, Michael J. S.


    The sense of long axis orientation of Comet Halley during the Vega 1 encounter must be reversed from that deduced by Sagdeev et al. (1986) in order to harmonize the comet nucleus' Vega/Giotto-observed orientations with periodicities extracted from time-series brightness data. It is also demonstrated that Vega/Giotto observations can be satisfied by either a 2.2- or 3.7-day long-axis free precession period. A novel Fourier algorithm is used to reanalyze five independent data sets; strong evidence is adduced for periods harmonically related to a 7.4-day period. The preferred candidate models for Halley's nuclear rotation are characterized by a long-axis precession period of 3.7 days.

  6. Solar wind stagnation near comets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Galeev, A.A.; Cravens, T.E.; Gombosi, T.I.


    The nature of the solar wind flow near comets is examined analytically. In particular, the typical values for the stagnation pressure and magnetic barrier strength are estimated, taking into account the magnetic field line tension and the charge exchange cooling of the mass loaded solar wind. Knowledge of the strength of the magnetic barrier is required in order to determine the location of the contact discontinuity which separates the contaminated solar wind plasma and the outflowing plasma of the cometary ionosphere. (author)

  7. Asteroid exploration and utilization: The Hawking explorer (United States)

    Carlson, Alan; Date, Medha; Duarte, Manny; Erian, Neil; Gafka, George; Kappler, Peter; Patano, Scott; Perez, Martin; Ponce, Edgar; Radovich, Brian


    The Earth is nearing depletion of its natural resources at a time when human beings are rapidly expanding the frontiers of space. The resources which may exist on asteroids could have enormous potential for aiding and enhancing human space exploration as well as life on Earth. With the possibly limitless opportunities that exist, it is clear that asteroids are the next step for human existence in space. This report comprises the efforts of NEW WORLDS, Inc. to develop a comprehensive design for an asteroid exploration/sample return mission. This mission is a precursor to proof-of-concept missions that will investigate the validity of mining and materials processing on an asteroid. Project STONER (Systematic Transfer of Near Earth Resources) is based on two utilization scenarios: (1) moving an asteroid to an advantageous location for use by Earth; and (2) mining an asteroids and transporting raw materials back to Earth. The asteroid explorer/sample return mission is designed in the context of both scenarios and is the first phase of a long range plane for humans to utilize asteroid resources. The report concentrates specifically on the selection of the most promising asteroids for exploration and the development of an exploration scenario. Future utilization as well as subsystem requirements of an asteroid sample return probe are also addressed.

  8. Impact Simulations on the Rubble Pile Asteroid (2867) Steins (United States)

    Deller, Jakob; Snodgrass, Colin; Lowry, Stephen C.; Price, Mark C.; Sierks, Holger


    Images from the OSIRIS camera system on board the Rosetta spacecraft (Keller et al. 2010) has revealed several interesting features on asteroid (2867) Steins. Its macro porosity of 40%, together with the shape that looks remarkably like a YORP evolved body, both indicate a rubble pile structure. A large crater on the southern pole is evidence for collisional evolution of this rubble pile asteroid. We have developed a new approach for simulating impacts on asteroid bodies that connects formation history to their collisional evolution. This is achieved by representing the interior as a ‘rubble pile’, created from the gravitational aggregation of spherical ‘pebbles’ that represent fragments from a major disruption event. These ‘pebbles’ follow a power law size function and constitute the building blocks of the rubble pile. This allows us to explicitly model the interior of rubble pile asteroids in hyper-velocity impact simulations in a more realistic way. We present preliminary results of a study validating our approach in a large series of simulated impacts on a typical small main belt rubble pile asteroid using the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics solver in Autodyn. We show that this approach allows us to explicitly follow the behavior of a single ‘pebble’, while preserving the expected properties of the bulk asteroid as known from observations and experiments (Holsapple 2009). On the example of Steins, we use this model to investigate if surface features like the northern hill at 75/100 degrees lon/lat distance to the largest crater (Jorda et al. 2012), or the catena of depletion pits, can be explained by the displacement of large fragments in the interior of the asteroid during the impact. We do this by following the movement of pebbles below the surface feature in simulations that recreate the shape of the impact crater.Acknowledgements: Jakob Deller thanks the Planetary Science Institute for a Pierazzo International Student Travel Award that funds

  9. The Asteroid 2000 ET70 (United States)

    Vodniza, Alberto Q.; Pereira, M. R.


    The asteroid 2000 ET70 (162421) was discovered by Lincoln Laboratory ETS (LINEAR) in New Mexico on March 8, 2000. Whiteley (2001) classified 2000 ET70 as an X-type object: This asteroid belongs to an ambiguous group that includes objects that are large and dark, metallic.The composition of this asteroid is unknown.The asteroid was at 0.0454430 U.A from the Earth on February 19.85956 (2012) and it will be at approximately 0.1503270 A.U from the Earth on August 21.07061 (2012).The asteroid 2000 ET70 was studied by radar in Arecibo and Goldstone. Shantanu Naidu and Jean-Luc Margot studied this object by Arecibo radar (Feb 13-2012) and they suggest that 2000 ET70 is roughly 1.5 km in diameter and that it has a period of rotation of about 9.5 hours. It has an orbital period of 0.92 years.From our Observatory, located in Pasto-Colombia, we captured several pictures, videos and astrometry data during three days. Our data was published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) and also appears at the web page of NEODyS. Our observatory’s code at the MPC is “H78”. Pictures of the asteroid were captured with the following equipment: 14” LX200 GPS MEADE (f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope) and STL-1001 SBIG camera.Astrometry was carried out, and we calculated the orbital elements. We obtained the following orbital parameters: eccentricity = 0.1243231, semi-major axis = 0.94541495 A.U, orbital inclination = 22.32919 deg, longitude of the ascending node = 331.05007 deg, argument of perihelion = 45.20913 deg, orbital period = 0.92 years (335.76 days), mean motion = 1.07218658 deg/d, perihelion distance = 0.82787796 A.U, aphelion distance = 1.06295195 A.U. The parameters were calculated based on 71 observations (2012 Mar. 1-7) with mean residual = 0.262 arcseconds.

  10. Comet coma sample return instrument (United States)

    Albee, A. L.; Brownlee, Don E.; Burnett, Donald S.; Tsou, Peter; Uesugi, K. T.


    The sample collection technology and instrument concept for the Sample of Comet Coma Earth Return Mission (SOCCER) are described. The scientific goals of this Flyby Sample Return are to return to coma dust and volatile samples from a known comet source, which will permit accurate elemental and isotopic measurements for thousands of individual solid particles and volatiles, detailed analysis of the dust structure, morphology, and mineralogy of the intact samples, and identification of the biogenic elements or compounds in the solid and volatile samples. Having these intact samples, morphologic, petrographic, and phase structural features can be determined. Information on dust particle size, shape, and density can be ascertained by analyzing penetration holes and tracks in the capture medium. Time and spatial data of dust capture will provide understanding of the flux dynamics of the coma and the jets. Additional information will include the identification of cosmic ray tracks in the cometary grains, which can provide a particle's process history and perhaps even the age of the comet. The measurements will be made with the same equipment used for studying micrometeorites for decades past; hence, the results can be directly compared without extrapolation or modification. The data will provide a powerful and direct technique for comparing the cometary samples with all known types of meteorites and interplanetary dust. This sample collection system will provide the first sample return from a specifically identified primitive body and will allow, for the first time, a direct method of matching meteoritic materials captured on Earth with known parent bodies.

  11. Shape, Density, and Geology of the Nucleus of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 (United States)

    Thomas, P.C.; A'hearn, Michael F.; Veverka, Joseph; Belton, Michael J. S.; Kissel, Jochen; Belton, Michael J. S.; Klaasen, Kenneth P.; McFadden, Lucy A.; Melosh, H. Jay; Schultz, Peter H.; hide


    Data from the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation (EPOXI) mission show Comet 103P/Hartley 2 is a bi-lobed, elongated, nearly axially symmetric comet 2.33 km in length. Surface features are primarily small mounds 1%. The shape may be the evolutionary product of insolation, sublimation, and temporary deposition of materials controlled by the object’s complex rotation.

  12. Halley comet, implication on the origin

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Festou, M.C.


    One will first give a rapid description of the different parts that compose a comet coma. Then one will describe the spectrum of comets from the UV to the IR regions with special emphasis on how information relative to the physico-chemistry of comet atmospheres can be retrieved. Our basic knowledge about the composition of comets before 1985 will be summarized and the input of the 1985-86 observing campaign of comet Halley will be shown (in situ, ground-based and space borne observations). One will see then that the chemical composition of comets appears as of today completely compatible with a formation from pre-solar matter that condensed inside the solar system [fr

  13. Proximity Operations for the Robotic Boulder Capture Option for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (United States)

    Reeves, David M.; Naasz, Bo J.; Wright, Cinnamon A.; Pini, Alex J.


    In September of 2013, the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM) Option B team was formed to expand on NASA's previous work on the robotic boulder capture option. While the original Option A concept focuses on capturing an entire smaller Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) using an inflatable bag capture mechanism, this design seeks to land on a larger NEA and retrieve a boulder off of its surface. The Option B team has developed a detailed and feasible mission concept that preserves many aspects of Option A's vehicle design while employing a fundamentally different technique for returning a significant quantity of asteroidal material to the Earth-Moon system. As part of this effort, a point of departure proximity operations concept was developed complete with a detailed timeline, as well as DeltaV and propellant allocations. Special attention was paid to the development of the approach strategy, terminal descent to the surface, controlled ascent with the captured boulder, and control during the Enhanced Gravity Tractor planetary defense demonstration. The concept of retrieving a boulder from the surface of an asteroid and demonstrating the Enhanced Gravity Tractor planetary defense technique is found to be feasible and within the proposed capabilities of the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV). While this point of departure concept initially focuses on a mission to Itokawa, the proximity operations design is also shown to be extensible to wide range of asteroids.

  14. The asteroid 2014 JO25 (United States)

    Vodniza, Alberto; Pereira, Mario


    The asteroid 2014 JO25 was discovered by A. D. Grauer at the Mt. Lemmon Survey on May 2014, and Joe Masiero used observations from the NEOWISE in 2014 to estimate a diameter of 650 meters [1]. However, using the radio telescope at Arecibo-Puerto Rico, astronomers obtained radar images on April 17-2017 and Edgar Rivera Valentín (scientist at Arecibo) said: “We found 2014 JO25 is a contact binary asteroid, two space rocks that were originally separate bodies, and each segment is about 640 meters and 670 meters, for a total of about 1.3 km long. Its rotation is of 3.5 hours” [2]. This asteroid flew past Earth on April 19 at a distance of about 4.6 lunar distances from the Earth. This was the closest approach by an asteroid since 4179 Toutatis. Toutatis flew past Earth on September 2004 at a distance of about 4 lunar distances from the Earth [3]. In April 12-2020 the asteroid will be at a minimum possible distance of 0.1617280 A.U from Earth [4]. From our observatory, located in Pasto-Colombia, we obtained a lot of pictures. Our data was published by the Minor Planet Center [5] and also appears at the web page of NEODyS [6]. Astrometry and photometry were carried out, and we calculated the orbital elements. We obtained the following orbital parameters: eccentricity=0.88454+/-0.00152, semi-major axis= 2.0573+/- 0.0216 A.U, orbital inclination=25.22+/-0.10 deg, longitude of the ascending node =30.6530+/-0.0032 deg, argument of perihelion=49.586+/-0.012 deg, mean motion = 0.33402+/-0.00527 deg/d, perihelion distance=0.237524+/-0.000644 A.U, aphelion distance=3.8770+/-0.0449 A.U, absolute magnitude =18.1. The parameters were calculated based on 164 observations. Dates: 2017 April: 22 to 24 with mean residual=0.22 arcseconds.The asteroid has an orbital period of 2.95 years.[1][2][3] https

  15. Mining the Apollo and Amor asteroids (United States)

    Oleary, B.


    Earth-approaching asteroids could provide raw materials for space manufacturing. For certain asteroids the total energy per unit mass for the transfer of asteroidal resources to a manufacturing site in high earth orbit is comparable to that for lunar materials. For logistical reasons the cost may be many times less. Optical studies suggest that these asteroids have compositions corresponding to those of carbonaceous and ordinary chondrites, with some containing large quantities of iron and nickel; other are thought to contain carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen, elements that appear to be lacking on the moon. The prospect that several new candidate asteroids will be discovered over the next few years increases the likelihood that a variety of asteroidal resource materials can be retrieved on low-energy missions.

  16. The Story Behind Asteroid 14060 Patersonewen (United States)

    Hatch, J. G.


    A pioneer of abstract art in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s, Paterson Ewen returned to figurative art by the end of the 1960s. After his divorce in 1968, the Montreal-born artist moved to London, Ontario, where he engaged in an emerging and vibrant national art scene, and started a new body of work depicting earthbound and celestial landscapes, which would dominate his visual career until his death in 2002. Many of these works are monumental in scale and were inspired by Japanese woodcuts; in fact, one of the most unique aspects of Ewen's work of this period is the method of their making that involves plywood as a support whose surface would be gouged by a router, often producing dramatic textural effects. Imagewise, Ewen produced one of the richest and most involved series of modern works inspired by celestial phenomena, ranging from Morehouse's comet and solar eruptions to the galaxy NGC 253.

  17. In Situ Instrumentation for Sub-Surface Planetary Geochemistry (United States)

    Bodnarik, J.; Evans, L.; Floyd, S.; Lim, L.; McClanahan, T.; Namkung, M.; Parsons, A.; Schweitzer, J.; Starr, R.; Trombka, J.


    Novel instrumentation is under development at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, building upon earth-based techniques for hostile environments, to infer geochemical processes important to formation and evolution of solid bodies in our Solar System. A prototype instrument, the Pulsed Neutron Generator Gamma Ray and Neutron Detectors (PNG-GRAND), has a 14 MeV pulsed neutron generator coupled with gamma ray and neutron detectors to measure quantitative elemental concentrations and bulk densities of a number of major, minor and trace elements at or below the surfaces with approximately a meter-sized spatial resolution down to depths of about 50 cm without the need to drill. PNG-GRAND's in situ a meter-scale measurements and adaptability to a variety of extreme space environments will complement orbital kilometer-scale and in-situ millimeter scale elemental and mineralogical measurements to provide a more complete picture of the geochemistry of planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

  18. Collecting Comet Samples by ER-2 Aircraft: Cosmic Dust Collection During the Draconid Meteor Shower in October 2012 (United States)

    Bastien, Ron; Burkett, P. J.; Rodriquez, M.; Frank, D.; Gonzalez, C.; Robinson, G.-A.; Zolensky, M.; Brown, P.; Campbell-Brown, M.; Broce, S.; hide


    Many tons of dust grains, including samples of asteroids and comets, fall from space into the Earth's atmosphere each day. NASA periodically collects some of these particles from the Earth's stratosphere using sticky collectors mounted on NASA's high-flying aircraft. Sometimes, especially when the Earth experiences a known meteor shower, a special opportunity is presented to associate cosmic dust particles with a known source. NASA JSC's Cosmic Dust Collection Program has made special attempts to collect dust from particular meteor showers and asteroid families when flights can be planned well in advance. However, it has rarely been possible to make collections on very short notice. In 2012, the Draconid meteor shower presented that opportunity. The Draconid meteor shower, originating from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, has produced both outbursts and storms several times during the last century, but the 2012 event was not predicted to be much of a show. Because of these predictions, the Cosmic Dust team had not targeted a stratospheric collection effort for the Draconids, despite the fact that they have one of the slowest atmospheric entry velocities (23 km/s) of any comet shower, and thus offer significant possibilities of successful dust capture. However, radar measurements obtained by the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar during the 2012 Draconids shower indicated a meteor storm did occur October 8 with a peak at 16:38 (+/-5 min) UTC for a total duration of approximately 2 hours.

  19. An Overview of NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) Concept (United States)

    Abell, P. A.; Mazanek, D. D.; Reeves, D. M.; Chodas, P. W.; Gates, M. M.; Johnson, L. N.; Ticker, R. L.


    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) as a capability demonstration for future human exploration, including use of high-power solar electric propulsion, which allows for the efficient movement of large masses through deep space. The ARM will also demonstrate the capability to conduct proximity operations with natural space objects and crewed operations beyond the security of quick Earth return. The Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), currently in formulation, will visit a large near-Earth asteroid (NEA), collect a multi-ton boulder from its surface, conduct a demonstration of a slow push planetary defense technique, and redirect the multi-ton boulder into a stable orbit around the Moon. Once returned to cislunar space in the mid-2020s, astronauts aboard an Orion spacecraft will dock with the robotic vehicle to explore the boulder and return samples to Earth. The ARM is part of NASA's plan to advance technologies, capabilities, and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s. The ARM and subsequent availability of the asteroidal material in cis-lunar space, provide significant opportunities to advance our knowledge of small bodies in the synergistic areas of science, planetary defense, and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). NASA established the Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST), comprised of scientists, engineers, and technologists, which supported ARRM mission requirements formulation, answered specific questions concerning potential target asteroid physical properties, and produced a publically available report. The ARM Investigation Team is being organized to support ARM implementation and execution. NASA is also open to collaboration with its international partners and welcomes further discussions. An overview of the ARM robotic and crewed segments, including mission requirements, NEA targets, and mission operations, and a discussion

  20. Overview and Updated Status of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) (United States)

    Abell, Paul; Mazanek, Daniel D.; Reeves, David M.; Chodas, Paul; Gates, Michele; Johnson, Lindley N.; Ticker, Ronald


    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a mission to visit a large near-Earth asteroid (NEA), collect a multi-ton boulder and regolith samples from its surface, demonstrate a planetary defense technique known as the enhanced gravity tractor, and return the asteroidal material to a stable orbit around the Moon. Once returned to cislunar space in the mid-2020s, astronauts will explore the boulder and return to Earth with samples. This Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is part of NASA's plan to advance the technologies, capabilities, and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s and other destinations, as well as provide other broader benefits. Subsequent human and robotic missions to the asteroidal material would also be facilitated by its return to cislunar space. Although ARM is primarily a capability demonstration mission (i.e., technologies and associated operations), there exist significant opportunities to advance our knowledge of small bodies in the synergistic areas of science, planetary defense, asteroidal resources and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and capability and technology demonstrations. Current plans are for the robotic mission to be launched in late 2021 with the crewed mission segment conducted using an Orion capsule via a Space Launch System rocket in 2026. In order to maximize the knowledge return from the mission, NASA is providing accommodations for payloads to be carried on the robotic segment of the mission and also organizing an ARM Investigation Team. The Investigation Team will be comprised of scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals from US industry, government, academia, and international institutions to help plan the implementation and execution of ARM. The presentation will provide a mission overview and the most recent update concerning the robotic and crewed segments of ARM, including the mission requirements, and potential

  1. Exploring Extreme Retro-reflection by Asteroids Using Las Cumbres Observatory Robotic Telescope Observations (United States)

    Goguen, Jay D.; Bauer, James M.


    The reflectivity of solar system surfaces ‘spikes’ sharply when the Sun is less than 1 degree from directly behind the observer. The Galileo spacecraft measured the reflectivity of part of Europa’s surface to increase by as much as a factor of 8 as the observer moves from 5 degrees to the exact backscattering direction! One mechanism explains this spike as coherent light scattering that occurs only close to this unique retro-reflection geometry. Due to the tight linear alignment of the target, observer and Sun required to measure the peak brightness of the spike, accurate and complete measurements of the amplitude and decay of the spike exist for only a few targets. We used the unique capabilities of the automated Las Cumbres Observatory global telescope network (LCO) to systematically measure this extreme opposition surge for 60+ asteroids sampling a variety of taxonomic classes in the Bus/DeMeo taxonomy.Each asteroid was observed in the SDSS r’ and g’ filters during the ~8 hour interval when it passes within ~0.1 deg of the point opposite the Sun on the sky. Supporting observations of each asteroid with LCO collected over ~50 days measure asteroid rotation and phase angle brightness changes to enable accurate characterization of the retro-reflection spike. This data set vastly increases the number and variety of the surfaces characterized at such small phase angles compared to existing asteroid data. We examine how the spike characteristics vary with surface composition, albedo, and wavelength providing new constraints on physical models of this ubiquitous yet poorly understood phenomenon.Analysis and modeling of these measurements will advance our understanding of the physical mechanism responsible for this enhanced retro-reflection thereby improving our ability to characterize these surfaces from remote observations. The ability to infer surface physical properties from remote sensing data is a key capability for future asteroid missions, manned


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains the Zappala et al. (1995) [ZAPPALAETAL1995] asteroid dynamical families classifications, based on the hierarchical clustering method applied...

  3. ASTEROID TAXONOMY V2.0 (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This dataset provides taxonomic classifications of asteroids in each of four different systems: Tholen (1984, 1989) THOLEN1984, THOLEN1989 [TEDESCOETAL1989


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This dataset contains the asteroid dynamical family classifications contained in Zappala, et al. (1995) [ZAPPALAETAL1995]. These are based on the heirarchical...

  5. The Compositional Structure of the Asteroid Belt (United States)

    DeMeo, F. E.; Alexander, C. M. O'D.; Walsh, K. J.; Chapman, C. R.; Binzel, R. P.

    The past decade has brought major improvements in large-scale asteroid discovery and characterization, with over half a million known asteroids, more than 100,000 of which have some measurement of physical characterization. This explosion of data has allowed us to create a new global picture of the main asteroid belt. Put in context with meteorite measurements and dynamical models, a new and more complete picture of solar system evolution has emerged. The question has changed from "What was the original compositional gradient of the asteroid belt?" to "What was the original compositional gradient of small bodies across the entire solar system?" No longer is the leading theory that two belts of planetesimals are primordial, but instead those belts were formed and sculpted through evolutionary processes after solar system formation. This chapter reviews the advancements on the fronts of asteroid compositional characterization, meteorite measurements, and dynamical theories in the context of the heliocentric distribution of asteroid compositions seen in the main belt today. This chapter also reviews the major outstanding questions relating to asteroid compositions and distributions and summarizes the progress and current state of understanding of these questions to form the big picture of the formation and evolution of asteroids in the main belt. Finally, we briefly review the relevance of asteroids and their compositions in their greater context within our solar system and beyond.


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is compiled by Dmitrij Lupishko of Kharkov University. This database tabulates the original data comprising degree of...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is compiled by Dmitrij Lupishko of Kharkov University. This database tabulates the original data comprising degree of...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is compiled by Dmitrij Lupishko of Kharkov University. This database tabulates the original data comprising degree of...


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Asteroid Polarimetric Database (APD) is compiled by Dmitrij Lupishko of Kharkov University. This database tabulates the original data comprising degree of...

  10. Spectrophotometric Characterisation of the Trojan Asteroids (624) Hektor et (911) Agamemnon (United States)

    Doressoundiram, A.; Bott, N.; Perna, D.


    We obtained spectrophotometric observations of (624) Hektor and (911) Agamemnon, two large Trojan asteroids in order to (1) better understand the composition of their surface by means of their visible and infrared spectra, and (2) eventually detect a possible weak cometary activity by means of their images in the visible. We had data at different rotational phases to probe surface variegations. We found that the visible and infrared spectra are very similar to each other. That indicates a relatively homogenous surface for the asteroids, but it does not exclude the presence of localized inhomogeneities. Computation of a high spectral slope confirmed their D-type asteroids classification. No aqueous alteration absorption band was found in the visible spectra of both studied Trojan asteroids. This can be interpreted in two differents ways: either no liquid water flowed on their surface, or the surface is covered with a crust that mask the presence of hydrated minerals. We use a radiative transfer model to investigate the surface composition of these icy and primitive outer solar system bodies. We suggest models composed of mixtures of organic compounds, minerals and lower limits for water ice. Lastly, the analysis of the images of both Trojan asteroids did not reveal any cometary activity.

  11. Volatile Characterization on Near Earth Asteroids (United States)

    McGraw, Lauren; Emery, Joshua P.; Thomas, Cristina A.; Rivkin, Andrew S.; Wigton, Nathanael R.


    Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are excellent laboratories for processes that affect the surfaces of airless bodies. Most NEAs are not expected to contain surface volatiles such as OH/H2O since they formed in the anhydrous regions of the solar system and since their surface temperatures are high enough to evaporate such volatiles. However, OH/H2O has been discovered on other seemingly dry bodies in the inner solar system, such as the Moon and Vesta. Possible sources for OH/H2O on these bodies include carbonaceous chondrite impacts and interactions with protons implanted by solar wind. NEAs should be subjected to the same processes as other “dry” bodies in the inner solar system so are hypothesized to also contain OH/H2O on their surfaces. We observed NEAs using SpeX on NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Spectra were collected using both prism (0.7-2.52 µm) and LXD_short (1.67-4.2 µm) modes in order to accurately characterize asteroid type and the 3-µm region, where the OH/H2O signature is present. We have made 19 observations of 13 NEAs as part of this ongoing project, with five more observations scheduled for this Fall. Of those, at least 3 NEAs exhibit an absorption feature in the 3-µm region: (433) Eros, (1036) Ganymed, and (3122) Florence. Eros and Ganymed have both been observed multiple times and by multiple observers (e.g., Rivkin et al. 2017), including two observations of Eros in Fall 2016, and Florence will be observed again in early September. Of the other 10 NEAs studied, eight do not exhibit a 3-µm spectral feature. The spectra for 1998 XB and 2014 JO25 are too noisy to definitively determine the presence of volatiles. Characterizing the shape of the 3-µm absorption feature can yield information on the source of the OH/H2O on the surface. Shallow features that gradually slope upward towards the continuum, such as is present in the spectra of Eros and Ganymed, indicate the presence of OH, which is inferred to have formed

  12. Cruise status of Hayabusa2: Round trip mission to asteroid 162173 Ryugu (United States)

    Tsuda, Yuichi; Watanabe, Sei-ichiro; Saiki, Takanao; Yoshikawa, Makoto; Nakazawa, Satoru


    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched an asteroid sample return spacecraft "Hayabusa2" on December 3, 2014 by the Japanese H2A launch vehicle. Hayabusa2 aims at the round trip mission to the asteroid 162173 Ryugu. Hayabusa2 successfully conducted the Earth gravity assist on December 3, 2015, and now the spacecraft is flying toward Ryugu with the microwave discharge ion engine as the means of propulsion. As of September 2016, 1346 h of the ion engine operation has been achieved as planned. Three touch downs/sample collections, one kinetic impact/crater generation, four surface rovers deployment and many other in-situ observations are planned in the asteroid proximity phase. The operation team will perform extensive operation practice/rehearsal using a hardware-in-the-loop simulator in the year 2017 to be ready for the asteroid arrival in the summer 2018.

  13. Spectrophotometry of 25 comets - Post-Halley updates for 17 comets plus new observations for eight additional comets (United States)

    Newburn, Ray L., Jr.; Spinrad, Hyron


    The best possible production figures within the current post-Halley framework and available observations are given for H2O, O(1D), CN, C3, C2 and dust in 25 comets. Of these, the three objects with the smallest mixing ratios of all minor species have moderate to little or no dust and appear 'old'. Comets with large amounts of CN are very dusty, and there is a clear correlation of CN with dust, although comets with little or no dust still have some CN. Thus, CN appears to have at least two sources, dust and one or more parent gases. Also, the C2/CN production ratio changes continuously with heliocentric distance in every comet considered, suggesting that C2 production may be a function of coma density as well as parental abundance. Dust production ranges from essentially zero in Comet Sugano-Saigusa-Fujikawa up to 67,000 kg/s for Halley on March 14, 1986.

  14. The evolution of comets and the detectability of Extra-Solar Oort Clouds

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stern, S.A.


    According the standard theory, comets are natural products of solar system formation, ejected to the Oort Cloud by gravitational scattering events during the epoch of giant planet formation. Stored far from the Sun for billions of years, comets almost certainly contain a record of the events which occurred during (and perhaps even before) the epoch of planetary formation. Two themes are examined of the evolutionary processes that affect comets in the Oort Cloud, and a search for evidence of Extra-Solar Oort Clouds (ESOCs). With regard to cometary evolution in the Oort Cloud, it was found that luminous O stars and supernovae have heated the surface layers of all comets on numerous occasions to 20 to 30 K and perhaps once to 50 K. Interstellar medium (ISM) interactions blow small grains out of the Oort Clouds, and erode the upper few hundred g/cu cm of material from cometary surfaces. The findings presented contradict the standard view that comets do not undergo physical change in the Oort Cloud. A logical consequence of the intimate connection between the Oort Cloud and our planetary system is that the detection of comet clouds around other stars would strongly indicate the sites of extant extra-solar planetary systems. A search was conducted for infrared IR emission from debris in ESOCs. After examining 17 stars using the Infrared Astronomical Satellite data base, only upper limits on ESOC emission could be set

  15. Human Robotic Systems (HRS): Robotic Technologies for Asteroid Missions (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — During 2014, the Robotic Technologies for Asteroid Missions activity has four tasks: Asteroid Retrieval Capture Mechanism Development and Testbed; Mission Operations...

  16. Amino Acids from a Comet (United States)

    Cook, Jamie Elisla


    NASA's Stardust spacecraft returned samples from comet 81P/Wild 2 to Earth in January 2006. Examinations of the organic compounds in cometary samples can reveal information about the prebiotic organic inventory present on the early Earth and within the early Solar System, which may have contributed to the origin of life. Preliminary studies of Stardust material revealed the presence of a suite of organic compounds including several amines and amino acids, but the origin of these compounds (cometary- vs. terrestrial contamination) could not be identified. We have recently measured the carbon isotopic ratios of these amino acids to determine their origin, leading to the first detection of a coetary amino acid.

  17. Heavy Metal - Exploring a magnetised metallic asteroid (United States)

    Wahlund, Jan-Erik; Andrews, David; Futaana, Yoshifumi; Masters, Adam; Thomas, Nicolas; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Herique, Alain; Retherford, Kurt; Tortora, Paolo; Trigo-Rodriguez, Joseph; Ivchenko, Nickolay; Simon, Sven


    We propose a spacecraft mission (Heavy Metal) to orbit and explore (16) Psyche - the largest M-class metallic asteroid in the main belt. Recent estimates of the shape, 279×232×189 km and mass, 2.7×10(19) kg make it one of the largest and densest of asteroids, and together with the high surface radar reflectivity and the spectral data measured from Earth it is consistent with a bulk composition rich in iron-nickel. The M5 mission Heavy Metal will investigate if (16) Psyche is the exposed metallic core of a planetesimal, formed early enough to melt and differentiate. High-resolution mapping of the surface in optical, IR, UV and radar wavebands, along with the determination of the shape and gravity field will be used to address the formation and subsequent evolution of (16) Psyche, determining the origin of metallic asteroids. It is conceivable that a cataclysmic collision with a second body led to the ejection of all or part of the differentiated core of the parent body. Measurements at (16) Psyche therefore provide a possibility to directly examine an iron-rich planetary core, similar to that expected at the center of all the major planets including Earth. A short-lived dynamo producing a magnetic field early in the life of (16) Psyche could have led to a remnant field (of tens of micro Tesla) being preserved in the body today. (16) Psyche is embedded in the variable flow of the solar wind. Whereas planetary magnetospheres and induced magnetospheres are the result of intense dynamo fields and dense conductive ionospheres presenting obstacles to the solar wind, (16) Psyche may show an entirely new 'class' of interaction as a consequence of its lack of a significant atmosphere, the extremely high bulk electrical conductivity of the asteroid, and the possible presence of intense magnetic fields retained in iron-rich material. The small characteristic scale of (16) Psyche ( 200 km) firmly places any solar wind interaction in the "sub-MHD" scale, in which kinetic

  18. Dynamics of landslides on comets of irregular shape (United States)

    Czechowski, Leszek


    Landslides were observed on a few comet's nuclei, e.g. [1], [2]. The mechanism of their origin is not obvious because of very low gravity. According to [2] fluidization and multiphase transport of cometary material could be an explanation. We investigate here motion of the mass on a comet of irregular shape. The mechanism responsible for the low friction is not considered here. In fact, mass motion often occurs without contact with the surface. The motion could be triggered by meteoroids impacts or by the tidal forces. Comets nuclei are believed to be built of soft materials like snow and dust. The landing of Philae on the comet 67P/Czuriumow-Gierasimienko indicates a different situation. According to [1]: "thermal probe did not fully penetrate the near-surface layers, suggesting a local resistance of the ground to penetration of >4 megapascals, equivalent to >2 megapascal uniaxial compressive strength". Here we assume that elastic properties of comet's nuclei could be similar to elastic properties of dry snow, namely Young modulus is assumed to be 1 - 100 MPa, see [3] and [4]. We consider nucleus of the shape of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with density 470 kg/m3. The impact or tidal forces result in changing of rotation of the comet. In general, the vector of angular velocity will be a subject to nutation that results in changing of centrifugal force, and consequently could be a factor triggering landslides. Note that nucleus' shape does not resemble the shape of surface of constant value of gravitational potential (i.e. 'geoid'). Our numerical models indicate the parts of the nucleus where landslides start and other parts where landslides stop. Of course, the regolith from the first type of regions would be removed to the regions of the second class. The motion of the mass is often complicated because of complicated distribution of the gravity and complicated shape of the nucleus. Acknowledgement: The research is partly supported by Polish National Science Centre

  19. Standardizing electrophoresis conditions: how to eliminate a major source of error in the comet assay.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gunnar Brunborg


    Full Text Available In the alkaline comet assay, cells are embedded in agarose, lysed, and then subjected to further processing including electrophoresis at high pH (>13. We observed very large variations of mean comet tail lengths of cell samples from the same population when spread on a glass or plastic substrate and subjected to electrophoresis. These variations might be cancelled out if comets are scored randomly over a large surface, or if all the comets are scored. The mean tail length may then be representative of the population, although its standard error is large. However, the scoring process often involves selection of 50 – 100 comets in areas selected in an unsystematic way from a large gel on a glass slide. When using our 96-sample minigel format (1, neighbouring sample variations are easily detected. We have used this system to study the cause of the comet assay variations during electrophoresis and we have defined experimental conditions which reduce the variations to a minimum. We studied the importance of various physical parameters during electrophoresis: (i voltage; (ii duration of electrophoresis; (iii electric current; (iv temperature; and (v agarose concentration. We observed that the voltage (V/cm varied substantially during electrophoresis, even within a few millimetres of distance between gel samples. Not unexpectedly, both the potential ( V/cm and the time were linearly related to the mean comet tail, whereas the current was not. By measuring the local voltage with microelectrodes a few millimetres apart, we observed substantial local variations in V/cm, and they increased with time. This explains the large variations in neighbouring sample comet tails of 25% or more. By introducing simple technology (circulation of the solution during electrophoresis, and temperature control, these variations in mean comet tail were largely abolished, as were the V/cm variations. Circulation was shown to be particularly important and optimal conditions

  20. Ex-dormant comets that come back to life: a search of reactivated comets (United States)

    Quan-Zhi, YE


    Dormant or near-dormant short-period comets can unexpectedly regain the ability to eject dust. In many known cases, the resurrection is short-lived and lasts less than one orbit. However, it is possible that some resurrected comets can remain active in later perihelion passages. Here we conduct a search in the archival images of various facilities to look for these “reactivated” comets. We identify two candidates, 297P/Beshore and 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, both of which were found to be inactive or weakly active in the previous orbit before their discovery. We derive a reactivation rate of 0.007 events per comet per orbit, which implies that typical short-period comets only become temporarily dormant a few times or less. Smaller comets are prone to rotational instability and may undergo temporary dormancy more frequently. Next generation high-cadence surveys may find more reactivation events of these comets.

  1. UV Spectrophotometry of the Galilean Satellites, Saturnian Satellites & Selected Asteroids (United States)

    Nelson, Robert M.

    We propose a series of ultraviolet spectral observations of solid surfaces of selected solar system objects, specifically the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, several atmosphereless satellites of Saturn, and the asteroids, 5 Astraea, 18 Melpomene, 532 Herculina, 68 Leto, 31 Euphmsyne, 80 Sappho, 3 Juno, and 39 Laetitia. Historically such spectral observations have allowed for the Identification of spectrally active solid state materials on planetary surfaces. Furthermore, because the rotational properties are known for all the objects proposed for study, this technique will provide a longitude map of such materials on the objects' surfaces. The study of asteroid surface mineralogy is an important method of constraining solar system formation models. The asteroid spectra we have previously acquired with IUE have created unique subdivisions within the existent asteroid types. The new spectra will provide more sophisticated mineralogical characterizations of asteroid surface materials. Our other accomplishments with IUE include mapping of the distribution of condensed S02 on Io, identification of a longitudinal asymmetry on Europa associated with magnetospheric particle bombardment of the surface, and establishing the ultraviolet geometric albedo variation as a function of longitude for all the Galilean satellites. Because Io is the most volcanically active body In the solar system, and short tern variations in selected regions of the Jovian magnetosphere are known to occur, it is important to periodically check for temporal variations in the spectra of the Galilean satellites that may be due to variations n Io tectonic/volcanic activity, or magnetosphere changes. These proposed UV observations are critical to the design and operation of several instruments on Project Galileo, NASA's Jupiter Orbiter and Probe Mission. Spectra of Iapetus, Rhea and Dione have been acquired during the previous year; however, only at orbital locations near elongation. In addition, the dark

  2. Imaging Asteroid (2867) Steins with OSIRIS onboard Rosetta (United States)

    Keller, H.; A'Hearn, M.; Angrilli, F.; Barbieri, C.; Barucci, A.; Bertaux, J.; Cremonese, G.; Davidson, B.; de Cecco, M.; Debei, S.; Fulle, M.; Groussin, O.; Gutierrez, P.; Hviid, S.; Ip, W.; Jorda, L.; Knollenberg, J.; Koschniy, D.; Kramm, J.; Kührt, E.; Küppers, M.; Lamy, P.; Lara, L.; Lopez Moreno, J.; Marzari, F.; Michalik, H.; Naletto, G.; Rickmann, H.; Rodrigo, R.; Sabau, L.; Sierks, H.; Thomas, N.; Wenzel, P.; Lazzarin, M.


    The Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System OSIRIS observed the E-type asteroid (2867) Steins during the fly-by of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft. Observations over a large phase angle range (from near 0 to 140) by the scientific camera system OSIRIS revealed the illuminated hemisphere of the asteroid's diamond-like shaped body with a mean radius of 2.7 km and a projected surface at zero phase angle of 5.3 x 3.9 km2. A large crater (diameter 2 km) is evidence of an almost disastrous impact and implies that Steins is not a solid rock. More than 30 craters or crater-like features with diameters > 150 m are identified. 7 round concavities are arranged along a line pointing radially away from the big impact crater. The shape and volume of asteroid Steins is derived from models based on the images of both OSIRIS cameras and earlier observations of the photometric light curves. Its resemblance to a spinning top suggests that it was influenced by the YORP effect making it the first optical observation of such a body. Analysis of the images provide the disk integrated albedo, reveal a strong opposition effect, and photometric properties of the surface showing very little variegation. Its very uniform, bright surface suggests that this asteroid is homogeneously formed out of the igneous (magmatic) minerals found in enstatite achondrite meteorites that are produced in melts requiring temperatures of more than 1000 C. Consequently (2867) Steins is a fragment of the interior of a large parent body.

  3. Asteroid Regolith Mechanical Properties: Laboratory Experiments With Cohesive Powders (United States)

    Durda, Daniel D.; Scheeres, D. J.; Roark, S. E.; Dissly, R.; Sanchez, P.


    Despite clear evidence that small asteroids undergo drastic physical evolution, the geophysics and mechanics of many of the processes governing that evolution remain a mystery due to a lack of scientific data, both on the sub-surface and global geophysics of these small bodies and on the mechanical properties of regoliths in the unique micro-gravity regime they inhabit. We are beginning a three-year effort to study regolith properties and processes on low-gravity, small asteroids by conducting analog experiments with cohesive powders in a 1-g laboratory environment. Based on a rigorous comparison of forces it can be shown that van der Waals cohesive forces between millimeter to centimeter-sized grains on asteroids ranging in size from Eros to Itokawa, respectively, may exceed their ambient weight several-fold. This observation implies that regoliths composed of impact debris of those sizes should behave on the microgravity surfaces of small asteroids like flour or other cohesive powders do in the 1-g environment here on Earth. Our goal is to develop an improved understanding of the role of cohesion in affecting regolith processes and surface morphology of small Solar System bodies, some the targets of ongoing and proposed NASA New Frontiers and Discovery missions, and to quantify the range of expected mechanical properties of such regoliths. Our experiments will be conducted in ambient and vacuum conditions within an environmental test chamber at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation (BATC) in Boulder, CO. To aid in validating our experiment chamber and support equipment performance, and before proceeding with experiments on geologic regolith simulant materials, we will perform a series of comparative, ‘calibration’ experiments with micro glass spheres; all primary experiments will be performed with at least one non-idealized regolith simulant, like JSC-1, that more realistically simulates the angular particle shapes expected in actual geologic fragments

  4. Comet mission hopes to uncover Earth's origins

    CERN Multimedia

    Henderson, M


    "A European spacecraft that will hunt down a comet in search of clues to the origin of life on Earth will blast off tomorrow from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. The Rosetta probe will take 12 years to catch up with Churyumov-Gerasimenko before becoming the first spacecraft to make a soft, controlled landing on a comet's nucleus" (1 page).

  5. Comet assay on mice testicular cells

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sharma, Anoop Kumar


    of the comet assay in testicular cells. The chemicals included environmentally relevant substances such as Bisphenol A, PFOS and Tetrabrombisphenol A. Statistical power calculations will be presented to aid in the design of future Comet assay studies on testicular cells. Power curves were provided...

  6. Meteoroid Streams from Sunskirter Comet Breakup (United States)

    Jenniskens, P. M.


    In its first year of operations, the CAMS project (Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance) has measured 47,000 meteoroid orbits at Earth, including some that pass the Sun as close as 0.008 AU. The population density increases significantly above perihelion distance q = 0.037 AU. Meteoroid streams are known with q about 0.1 AU. The Sun has a profound effect on comets that pass at 0.04-0.16 AU distance, called the sunskirter comets. SOHO and STEREO see families of small comets called the Marsden and Kracht groups. Sunlight is efficiently scattered by small 10-m sized fragments, making those fragments visible even when far from Earth. These comet groups are associated with meteor showers on Earth, in particular the Daytime Arietids and Delta Aquariids. All are related to 96P/Machholz, a highly inclined short-period (5.2 year) Jupiter family comet that comes to within 0.12 AU from the Sun, the smallest perihelion distance known among numbered comets. The proximity of the Sun speeds up the disintegration process, providing us a unique window on this important decay mechanism of Jupiter family comets and creating meteoroid streams. These are not the only sunskirting comets, however. In this presentation, we will present CAMS observations of the complete low-q meteoroid population at Earth and review their association with known parent bodies.

  7. RFP for the Comet Nuclei Tour (CONTOUR)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, John Leif; Madsen, Peter Buch; Betto, Maurizio


    This document describes the ASC Star Tracker (performance, functionality, requirements etc.) to The Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory for their Comet Nuclei TOUR (CONTOUR) Program.......This document describes the ASC Star Tracker (performance, functionality, requirements etc.) to The Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory for their Comet Nuclei TOUR (CONTOUR) Program....


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Perna, D.; Barucci, M. A.; Fornasier, S.; Deshapriya, J. D. P. [LESIA—Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 5 place Jules Janssen, F-92195 Meudon (France); Dotto, E.; Ieva, S.; Epifani, E. Mazzotta [INAF—Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, I-00040 Monte Porzio Catone (Roma) (Italy); Bernardi, F. [SpaceDyS, via Mario Giuntini 63, I-56023 Cascina (Pisa) (Italy); Luise, F. De [INAF—Osservatorio Astronomico di Teramo, via Mentore Maggini snd, I-64100 Teramo (Italy); Perozzi, E. [Deimos Space, Strada Buchesti 75-77, Bucharest (Romania); Rossi, A. [IFAC—CNR, via Madonna del Piano 10, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze) (Italy); Micheli, M., E-mail: [ESA—NEOCC, ESRIN, via Galileo Galilei 64, I-00044 Frascati (Rome) (Italy)


    Through their delivery of water and organics, near-Earth objects (NEOs) played an important role in the emergence of life on our planet.  However, they also pose a hazard to the Earth, as asteroid impacts could significantly affect our civilization. Potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) are those that, in principle, could possibly impact the Earth within the next century, producing major damage. About 1600 PHAs are currently known, from an estimated population of 4700 ± 1450. However, a comprehensive characterization of the PHA physical properties is still missing. Here we present spectroscopic observations of 14 PHAs, which we have used to derive their taxonomy, meteorite analogs, and mineralogy. Combining our results with the literature, we investigated how PHAs are distributed as a function of their dynamical and physical properties. In general, the “carbonaceous” PHAs seem to be particularly threatening, because of their high porosity (limiting the effectiveness of the main deflection techniques that could be used in space) and low inclination and minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) with the Earth (favoring more frequent close approaches). V-type PHAs also present low MOID values, which can produce frequent close approaches (as confirmed by the recent discovery of a limited space weathering on their surfaces). We also identified those specific objects that deserve particular attention because of their extreme rotational properties, internal strength, or possible cometary nature. For PHAs and NEOs in general, we identified a possible anti-correlation between the elongation and the rotational period, in the range of P{sub rot} ≈ 5–80 hr. This would be compatible with the behavior of gravity-dominated aggregates in rotational equilibrium. For periods ≳80–90 hr, such a trend stops, possibly under the influence of the YORP effect and collisions. However, the statistics is very low, and further observational and theoretical work is required

  9. The hazard of near-Earth asteroid impacts on earth (United States)

    Chapman, Clark R.


    Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) have struck the Earth throughout its existence. During epochs when life was gaining a foothold ˜4 Ga, the impact rate was thousands of times what it is today. Even during the Phanerozoic, the numbers of NEAs guarantee that there were other impacts, possibly larger than the Chicxulub event, which was responsible for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions. Astronomers have found over 2500 NEAs of all sizes, including well over half of the estimated 1100 NEAs >1 km diameter. NEAs are mostly collisional fragments from the inner half of the asteroid belt and range in composition from porous, carbonaceous-chondrite-like to metallic. Nearly one-fifth of them have satellites or are double bodies. When the international telescopic Spaceguard Survey, which has a goal of discovering 90% of NEAs >1 km diameter, is completed, perhaps as early as 2008, nearly half of the remaining impact hazard will be from land or ocean impacts by bodies 70-600 m diameter. (Comets are expected to contribute only about 1% of the total risk.) The consequences of impacts for civilization are potentially enormous, but impacts are so rare that worldwide mortality from impacts will have dropped to only about 150 per year (averaged over very long durations) after the Spaceguard goal has, presumably, ruled out near-term impacts by 90% of the most dangerous ones; that is, in the mid-range between very serious causes of death (disease, auto accidents) and minor but frightening ones (like shark attacks). Differences in perception concerning this rather newly recognized hazard dominate evaluation of its significance. The most likely type of impact events we face are hyped or misinterpreted predicted impacts or near-misses involving small NEAs.

  10. Comets and How to Observe Them

    CERN Document Server

    Schmude, Richard


    Comets have inspired wonder, excitement and even fear ever since they were first observed. They contain material from early in the life of the Solar System, held in deep-freeze. This makes them key in our understanding of the formation and evolution of many Solar System bodies. Recent ground- and space-based observations have changed much in our understanding of comets. Comets and How to Observe Them gives a summary of our current knowledge and describes how amateur astronomers can contribute to the body of scientific knowledge of comets. This book contains many practical examples of how to construct comet light-curves, measure how fast a comet’s coma expands, and determine the rotation period of the nucleus. All these examples are illustrated with drawings and photographs.

  11. Origin of Short-Perihelion Comets (United States)

    Guliyev, A. S.


    New regularities for short-perihelion comets are found. Distant nodes of cometary orbits of Kreutz family are concentrated in a plane with ascending node 76 and inclination 267 at the distance from 2 up to 3 a.u. and in a very narrow interval of longitudes. There is a correlation dependence between q and cos I concerning the found plane (coefficient of correlation 0.41). Similar results are received regarding to cometary families of Meyer, Kracht and Marsden. Distant nodes of these comets are concentrated close three planes (their parameters are discussed in the article) and at distances 1.4; 0.5; 6 a.u. accordingly. It is concluded that these comet groups were formed as a result of collision of parent bodies with meteoric streams. One more group, consisting of 7 comets is identified. 5 comet pairs are selected among sungrazers.

  12. Directed Energy Deflection Laboratory Measurements of Asteroids and Space Debris (United States)

    Brashears, T.; Lubin, P. M.


    We report on laboratory studies of the effectiveness of directed energy planetary and space defense as a part of the DE-STAR (Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation) program. DE-STAR [1][5][6] and DE-STARLITE [2][5][6] are directed energy "stand-off" and "stand-on" programs, respectively. These systems consist of a modular array of kilowatt-class lasers powered by photovoltaics, and are capable of heating a spot on the surface of an asteroid to the point of vaporization. Mass ejection, as a plume of evaporated material, creates a reactionary thrust capable of diverting the asteroid's orbit. In a series of papers, we have developed a theoretical basis and described numerical simulations for determining the thrust produced by material evaporating from the surface of an asteroid [1][2][3][4][5][6]. In the DE-STAR concept, the asteroid itself is used as the deflection "propellant". This study presents results of experiments designed to measure the thrust created by evaporation from a laser directed energy spot. We constructed a vacuum chamber to simulate space conditions, and installed a torsion balance that holds an "asteroid" or a space debris sample. The sample is illuminated with a fiber array laser with flux levels up to 60 MW/m2 which allows us to simulate a mission level flux but on a small scale. We use a separate laser as well as a position sensitive centroid detector to readout the angular motion of the torsion balance and can thus determine the thrust. We compare the measured thrust to the models. Our theoretical models indicate a coupling coefficient well in excess of 100 µN/Woptical, though we assume a more conservative value of 80 µN/Woptical and then degrade this with an optical "encircled energy" efficiency of 0.75 to 60 µN/Woptical in our deflection modeling. Our measurements discussed here yield about 60 µN/Wabsorbed as a reasonable lower limit to the thrust per optical watt absorbed.

  13. Hydrodynamic Modeling of the Deep Impact Mission into Comet Tempel 1 (United States)

    Sorli, Kya; Remington, Tané; Bruck Syal, Megan


    Kinetic impact is one of the primary strategies to deflect hazardous objects off of an Earth-impacting trajectory. The only test of a small-body impact is the 2005 Deep Impact mission into comet Tempel 1, where a 366-kg mass impactor collided at ~10 km/s into the comet, liberating an enormous amount of vapor and ejecta. Code comparisons with observations of the event represent an important source of new information about the initial conditions of small bodies and an extraordinary opportunity to test our simulation capabilities on a rare, full-scale experiment. Using the Adaptive Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (ASPH) code, Spheral, we explore how variations in target material properties such as strength, composition, porosity, and layering affect impact results, in order to best match the observed crater size and ejecta evolution. Benchmarking against this unique small-body experiment provides an enhanced understanding of our ability to simulate asteroid or comet response to future deflection missions. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. LLNL-ABS-739336-DRAFT.

  14. Survival of Glycolaldehyde and Production of Sugar Compounds via Comet Impact Delivery (United States)

    Zellner, N.; McCaffrey, V.; Crake, C.; Butler, J.; Robbins, J.; Fodor, A.


    Impact experiments using glycolaldehyde (GLA), a two-carbon sugar precursor that has been detected in regions of the interstellar medium and on comets, have been conducted at the Experimental Impact Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Samples of GLA and GLA mixed with montmorillonite clays were subjected to the pressure conditions that are found during impact delivery of biomolecules by comets, asteroids, or meteors; pressures ranged from 4.5 GPa to 25 GPa. Results show that large amounts of GLA survived the impacts and moderate amounts of threose, erythrose, and glycolic acid were produced in these impacts. Total amounts are dependent on impact pressure. Ethylene glycol, a reduced variant of GLA that has also been detected in the interstellar medium and on comets, was also produced. The results of these experimental impacts provide evidence that large amounts of GLA, EG, and other biomolecules were available on habitable moons or planets, especially during the era of late heavy bombardment ( 4.2 to 3.7 billion years ago) when life may have been developing on Earth. The presence and availability of these biomolecules, under appropriate conditions, may be important for understanding the origin of life as we know it. Glycolaldehyde in particular, may be an important molecule in the production of ribose, the five-carbon sugar in RNA.

  15. 3D radar wavefield tomography of comet interiors (United States)

    Sava, Paul; Asphaug, Erik


    Answering fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of small planetary bodies hinges on our ability to image their surface and interior structure in detail and at high resolution. The interior structure is not easily accessible without systematic imaging using, e.g., radar transmission and reflection data from multiple viewpoints, as in medical tomography. Radar tomography can be performed using methodology adapted from terrestrial exploration seismology. Our feasibility study primarily focuses on full wavefield methods that facilitate high quality imaging of small body interiors. We consider the case of a monostatic system (co-located transmitters and receivers) operated in various frequency bands between 5 and 15 MHz, from a spacecraft in slow polar orbit around a spinning comet nucleus. Using realistic numerical experiments, we demonstrate that wavefield techniques can generate high resolution tomograms of comets nuclei with arbitrary shape and complex interior properties.

  16. C/2013 P2 Pan STARRS - The Manx Comet (United States)

    Meech, Karen J.; Yang, Bin; Keane, Jacqueline; Hainaut, Olivier; Kleyna, Jan; Hsieh, Henry; Bauer, James; Wainscoat, Richard; Veres, Peter


    On Aug 4, 2013 an apparently asteroidal object was discovered by the Pan STARRS1 (PS1) survey telescope on Haleakala at magnitude 20.4 (corresponding to a nucleus radius between 1.4-2.9 km for albedos between 0.25-0.04). PS1 pre-recovery images taken on July 26 and on Aug. 3 allowed a good orbit to be determined. The orbit looks like that of a long-period comet with a semi major axis of 2720 AU and an eccentricity of 0.999. Shortly following the discovery, reports from small telescopes came in that there was low level activity associated with this object (at r = 3.45 AU), and the object was designated P/2013 P2 (Pan STARRS). The activity was not seen in images obtained with PS1, the Faulkes N telescope or the CFHT 3.6m, however the object was passing through a region of significant nebulosity. Deep images obtained on the CFHT on Aug. 8 and follow up images obtained with the Gemini North 8m telescope on Sep. 9 showed a very faint tail extending a few arcsec to PA=45 deg (inconsistent with the earlier reports). The object was observed using several facilities up until solar conjunction, and again after perihelion (Feb. 17, 2014) in March, with little increase in activity. A search of the NEOWISE archives show no detection during the cryogenic and immediate pos-cryogenic phases, so we can only place an upper limit on the nucleus size from these data. An object on a long-period comet orbit at this heliocentric distance typically should be very active, and our team hypothesized that this could either be a nearly-extinct comet or possibly inner solar system material ejected to the outer solar system during planet migration as predicted by various dynamical models. To distinguish between these scenarios, we obtained both optical and near-IR spectra of P/2013 P2 on 2014 May 7 and 21, when the object was at r=2.97 and 2.99 AU, respectively. Initial reductions show no emission lines. We will report on our spectra and imaging data, and discuss the implications for the origin

  17. Oort spike comets with large perihelion distances (United States)

    Królikowska, Małgorzata; Dybczyński, Piotr A.


    The complete sample of large-perihelion nearly-parabolic comets discovered during the period 1901-2010 is studied, starting with their orbit determination. Next, an orbital evolution that includes three perihelion passages (previous-observed-next) is investigated in which a full model of Galactic perturbations and perturbations from passing stars is incorporated. We show that the distribution of planetary perturbations suffered by actual large-perihelion comets during their passage through the Solar system has a deep, unexpected minimum around zero, which indicates a lack of 'almost unperturbed' comets. Using a series of simulations we show that this deep well is moderately resistant to some diffusion of the orbital elements of the analysed comets. It seems reasonable to assert that the observed stream of these large-perihelion comets experienced a series of specific planetary configurations when passing through the planetary zone. An analysis of the past dynamics of these comets clearly shows that dynamically new comets can appear only when their original semimajor axes are greater than 20 000 au. On the other hand, dynamically old comets are completely absent for semimajor axes longer than 40 000 au. We demonstrate that the observed 1/aori-distribution exhibits a local minimum separating dynamically new from dynamically old comets. Long-term dynamical studies reveal a wide variety of orbital behaviour. Several interesting examples of the action of passing stars are also described, in particular the impact of Gliese 710, which will pass close to the Sun in the future. However, none of the obtained stellar perturbations is sufficient to change the dynamical status of the analysed comets.

  18. Scattering V-type asteroids during the giant planet instability: a step for Jupiter, a leap for basalt (United States)

    Brasil, P. I. O.; Roig, F.; Nesvorný, D.; Carruba, V.


    V-type asteroids are a taxonomic class whose surface is associated with a basaltic composition. The only known source of V-type asteroids in the Main Asteroid Belt is (4) Vesta, which is located in the inner part of the Main Belt. However, many V-type asteroids cannot be dynamically linked to Vesta, in particular, those asteroids located in the middle and outer parts of the Main Belt. Previous works have failed to find mechanisms to transport V-type asteroids from the inner to the middle and outer belts. In this work, we propose a dynamical mechanism that could have acted on primordial asteroid families. We consider a model of the giant planet migration known as the jumping Jupiter model with five planets. Our study is focused on the period of 10 Myr that encompasses the instability phase of the giant planets. We show that, for different hypothetical Vesta-like paleo-families in the inner belt, the perturbations caused by the ice giant that is scattered into the asteroid belt before being ejected from the Solar system are able to scatter V-type asteroids to the middle and outer belts. Based on the orbital distribution of V-type candidates identified from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the VISTA Survey colours, we show that this mechanism is efficient enough provided that the hypothetical paleo-family originated from a 100 to 500 km crater excavated on the surface of (4) Vesta. This mechanism is able to explain the currently observed V-type asteroids in the middle and outer belts, with the exception of (1459) Magnya.

  19. ``Hands-Free'' Asteroid Astrometry (United States)

    Monet, A. K. B.; Bowell, E.; Monet, D. G.


    How do you undertake a major new astrometric program with no additional financial or personnel resources? The answer: automation! Early in 1992, the authors began a collaboration to obtain astrometric positions for several classes of asteroids (V_lim 17.5 mag) whose orbits required improvement or that were otherwise of special interest. The telescope used for this work is the USNOFS 0.2-meter transit telescope, equipped with a CCD camera. The operation of this instrument has been fully automated (Stone, et al. 1996, AJ, 111, 1721. Nightly observing rosters are constructed from a ranked listing of all asteroids of interest, prepared each month by Bowell. In a typical month, about 200 observations are made, although this number can range from 0 to over 400. Reductions are done automatically as well. A typical 10-hr nightly run can be fully reduced in less than 1/2 hr. Reductions are made on a frame-by-frame basis and positions of the asteroids computed with respect to the USNO-A1.0 catalog (Monet, D.G. 1996, USNO-A1.0 Catalog -- 10 CD-ROM Set, US Naval Observatory.) Observational quality is checked by Bowell, who also recomputes orbits and reports final results to the Minor Planet Center. Orbit residuals hover around 0.3 arcsec. This poster will present a brief overview of the observing and analysis methods, an account of the first five years of results, and a description of planned improvements in instrumentation and analysis techniques.

  20. Binary asteroid population. 1. Angular momentum content

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pravec, Petr; Harris, A. W.


    Roč. 190, č. 1 (2007), s. 250-259 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA205/05/0604 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroids * satellites of asteroids Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 2.869, year: 2007

  1. [Asteroid hyalopathy (benson's disease): about a case]. (United States)

    Bienvenu, Yogolelo Asani; Angel, Musau Nkola; Leon, Kabamba Ngombe; Socrate, Kapalu Mwangala; Bruno, Iye Ombamba Kayimba; Gaby, Chenge Borasisi


    We here report a case of a 58 year-old diabetic male patient with asteroid hyalopathy, an affection rarely described in the literature. This study can help focus the attention of scientists on the pathologies of the vitreous disorders in diabetic patients as well as on other systemic diseases asteroid hyalopathy may be associated with.

  2. Spectroscopy of near-Earth asteroids

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Michelsen, René; Nathues, Andreas; Lagerkvist, Claes-Ingvar


    We present spectra and taxonomic classifications of 12 Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and 2 inner Main Belt asteroids. The observations were carried out with the ESO 3.5 m NTT and the Danish 1.54 m telescope at La Silla, Chile. Eleven of the investigated NEAs belong to the S class while only one C-t...

  3. Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission: Kinetic impactor

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Cheng, A.F.; Michel, R.; Jutzi, M.; Rivkin, A. S.; Stickle, A.; Barnouin, O.; Ernst, C.; Atchison, J.; Pravec, Petr; Richardson, D.C.


    Roč. 121, February (2016), s. 25-37 ISSN 0032-0633 Institutional support: RVO:67985815 Keywords : planetary defense * near-Earth asteroids * asteroid impact hazards Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 1.892, year: 2016

  4. Asteroid-Deepsky Appulses in 2018 (United States)

    Warner, Brian D.


    The following list is a very small subset of the results of a search for asteroid-deepsky appulses for 2018, presenting only the highlights for the year based on close approaches of brighter asteroids to brighter DSOs. The complete set of predictions is available at

  5. Orbital Mechanics near a Rotating Asteroid

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)


    Jan 27, 2016 ... This study investigates the different novel forms of the dynamical equations of a particle orbiting a rotating asteroid and the effective potential, the Jacobi integral, etc. on different manifolds. Nine new forms of the dynamical equations of a particle orbiting a rotating asteroid are presented, and the classical ...

  6. Modeling of lightcurves of binary asteroids

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Scheirich, Peter; Pravec, Petr


    Roč. 200, č. 2 (2009), s. 531-547 ISSN 0019-1035 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA205/05/0604 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : asteroids * photometry * satellites of asteroids Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 3.340, year: 2009

  7. Asteroid Geophysics and Quantifying the Impact Hazard (United States)

    Sears, D.; Wooden, D. H.; Korycanksy, D. G.


    Probably the major challenge in understanding, quantifying, and mitigating the effects of an impact on Earth is understanding the nature of the impactor. Of the roughly 25 meteorite craters on the Earth that have associated meteorites, all but one was produced by an iron meteorite and only one was produced by a stony meteorite. Equally important, even meteorites of a given chemical class produce a wide variety of behavior in the atmosphere. This is because they show considerable diversity in their mechanical properties which have a profound influence on the behavior of meteorites during atmospheric passage. Some stony meteorites are weak and do not reach the surface or reach the surface as thousands of relatively harmless pieces. Some stony meteorites roll into a maximum drag configuration and are strong enough to remain intact so a large single object reaches the surface. Others have high concentrations of water that may facilitate disruption. However, while meteorite falls and meteorites provide invaluable information on the physical nature of the objects entering the atmosphere, there are many unknowns concerning size and scale that can only be determined by from the pre-atmospheric properties of the asteroids. Their internal structure, their thermal properties, their internal strength and composition, will all play a role in determining the behavior of the object as it passes through the atmosphere, whether it produces an airblast and at what height, and the nature of the impact and amount and distribution of ejecta.

  8. Lightcurve Photometry of Six Asteroids (United States)

    Ferrero, Andrea


    Observations from 2012 January to March lead to the determination of the rotation periods for six main-belt asteroids: 33 Polyhymnia, P = 18.604 ± 0.004 h; 467 Laura, P = 37.4 ± 0.1 h; 825 Tanina, P = 6.940 ± 0.001 h; 1421 Esperanto, P = 21.982 ± 0.005 h; 3481 Xianglupeak, P = 5.137 ± 0.003 h; and 4350 Shibecha, which had two possible solutions, P = 2.890 ± 0.001 h and P = 5.778 ± 0.002 h.

  9. Absence of satellites of asteroids

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gehrels, T.; Drummond, J.D.; Levenson, N.A.


    The absence of satellites within 0.1-7.0 arcmin of minor planets noted in the present CCD imaging survey is judged consistent with previous theoretical studies of collisions in which it is held that satellites would have to be larger than about 30 km in order to be collisionally stable. In view of tidal stability, the only main belt asteroid satellites which could conceivably possess stability over eons are near-contact binaries. Any recent collisional debris would be chaotic and collisionally unstable. 15 references

  10. Basic targeting strategies for rendezvous and flyby missions to the near-Earth asteroids (United States)

    Perozzi, Ettore; Rossi, Alessandro; Valsecchi, Giovanni B.


    Missions to asteroids and comets are becoming increasingly feasible both from a technical and a financial point of view. In particular, those directed towards the Near-Earth Asteroids have proven suitable for a low-cost approach, thus attracting the major space agencies as well as private companies. The choice of a suitable target involves both scientific relevance and mission design considerations, being often a difficult task to accomplish due to the limited energy budget at disposal. The aim of this paper is to provide an approach to basic trajectory design which allows to account for both aspects of the problem, taking into account scientific and technical information. A global characterization of the Near-Earth Asteroids population carried out on the basis of their dynamics, physical properties and flight dynamics considerations, allows to identify a group of candidates which satisfy both, the scientific and engineering requirements. The feasibility of rendezvous and flyby missions towards them is then discussed and the possibility of repeated encounters with the same object is investigated, as an intermediate scenario. Within this framework, the capability of present and near future launch and propulsion systems for interplanetary missions is also addressed.

  11. The asteroids as outcomes of catastrophic collisions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Farinella, P. (Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Merate, Italy); Paolicchi, P.


    The role of catastrophic collisions in the evoloution of the asteroids is discussed in detail, employing extrapolations of experimental results on the outcome of high velocity-impacts. The probability of impacts with a given projectile-to-target mass ratio for asteroids of different sizes is derived, taking into account different mass distributions of the asteroid population at the beginning of the collision process. The extrapolations show that collisional breakup against solid-state cohesions must be a widespread process for asteroids. The influence of self-gravitation and transfer of angular momentum during collision is shown to depend strongly on the traget size, resulting in a variety of possible outcomes in the intermediate size range. Comparason of the theoretical results with observations of asteroid rotations and shapes yields favorable results.

  12. OpenComet: An automated tool for comet assay image analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin M. Gyori


    Full Text Available Reactive species such as free radicals are constantly generated in vivo and DNA is the most important target of oxidative stress. Oxidative DNA damage is used as a predictive biomarker to monitor the risk of development of many diseases. The comet assay is widely used for measuring oxidative DNA damage at a single cell level. The analysis of comet assay output images, however, poses considerable challenges. Commercial software is costly and restrictive, while free software generally requires laborious manual tagging of cells. This paper presents OpenComet, an open-source software tool providing automated analysis of comet assay images. It uses a novel and robust method for finding comets based on geometric shape attributes and segmenting the comet heads through image intensity profile analysis. Due to automation, OpenComet is more accurate, less prone to human bias, and faster than manual analysis. A live analysis functionality also allows users to analyze images captured directly from a microscope. We have validated OpenComet on both alkaline and neutral comet assay images as well as sample images from existing software packages. Our results show that OpenComet achieves high accuracy with significantly reduced analysis time.

  13. Landslide on comets as a result of impacts (United States)

    Czechowski, Leszek


    Introduction: Landslides were observed on a few comet's nuclei, e.g. [1], [2]. The mechanism of their origin is not obvious because of very low gravity. According to [2] fluidization and multiphase transport of cometary material could be an explanation. We consider another option, namely, earthquakes resulted from meteoroids impacts as a trigging mechanism. Material of comets: Comets nuclei are believed to built of soft materials like snow and dust. The recent landing of Philae on the comet 67P/Czuriumow-Gierasimienko indicates a different situation. According to [1]: "thermal probe did not fully penetrate the near-surface layers, suggesting a local resistance of the ground to penetration of >4 megapascals, equivalent to >2 megapascal uniaxial compressive strength". Here we assume that elastic properties of comet's nuclei could be similar to elastic properties of dry snow, namely Young modulus is assumed to be 106 - 108Pa, see [3] and [4]. The model and results: We consider cometary nucleus in the shape of two spheres (with radius 1400 m each) connected by a cylinder (with radius of 200 m and length of 200 m). Density is 470 kg m-3. This shape corresponds approximately to shapes of some comets (e.g. 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko [1], 103P/Hartley 2 [5]) A few vibration modes of such body are possible. In present research we consider 3 modes: bending, lengthening-shortening along axis of symmetry, and torsion. We calculated periods of basic oscillation in each of these modes for different values of Young modulus - Table 1. Table 1 Basic results of calculations Young modulus [MPa]Periods [s] of vibrationMaximum acceleration [m s-2] 4 110 - 950 0.0001- 0.0004 40 38 - 290 0.0004- 0.0014 400 12 - 92 0.0012- 0.0045 Rotation and nutation: the impact results in changing of rotation of the comet. In general, the vector of angular velocity will be a subject to nutation that results in changing of centrifugal force, and consequently could be an additional factor triggering

  14. The comet assay in testing the potential genotoxicity of nanomaterials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amaya Azqueta


    Full Text Available In the last two decades the production and use of nanomaterials (NMs has impressively increased. Their small size, given a mass equal to that of the corresponding bulk material, implies an increase in the surface area and consequently in the number of atoms that can be reactive. They possess different physical, chemical and biological properties compared to bulk materials of the same composition, which makes them very interesting and valuable for many different applications in technology, energy, construction, electronics, agriculture, optics, paints, textiles, food, cosmetics, medicine... Toxicological assessment of NMs is crucial; the same properties that make them interesting also make them potentially harmful for health and the environment. However, the term NM covers many different kinds of particle , and so there is no simple, standard approach to assessing their toxicity. NMs can enter the cell, interact with cell components and even penetrate the nucleus and interfere with the genetic material. Among the different branches of toxicology, genotoxicity is a main area of concern since it is closely related with the carcinogenic potential of compounds. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD has published internationally agreed in vitro and in vivo validated test methods to evaluate different genotoxic endpoints of chemicals, including chromosome and gene mutations, and DNA breaks. However not all the assays are suitable to study the genotoxic potential of NMs as has been shown by the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN. Moreover, alterations to DNA bases, which are precursors to mutations and of great importance in elucidating the mechanism of action of NMs, are not covered by the OECD guidelines. The in vivo standard comet assay (which measures DNA breaks and alkali-labile sites was included in the OECD assays battery in September 2014 while the in vitro standard comet assay is currently under

  15. Follow-up observations for the Asteroid Catalog using AKARI Spectroscopic Observations (United States)

    Hasegawa, Sunao; Kuroda, Daisuke; Yanagisawa, Kenshi; Usui, Fumihiko


    In the 1-2.5 μm range, spectroscopic observations are made on the AcuA-spec asteroids, the spectra of which were obtained in a continuous covered mode between 2.5-5.0 μm by AKARI. Based on the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy (DeMeo et al. 2009, Icarus, 202, 160), all the AcuA-spec asteroids are classified, using both published and our observational data. Additionally, taking advantage of the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy characteristics, we constrain the characteristic of each spectral type by combining the taxonomy results with the other physical observational data from colorimetry, polarimetry, radar, and radiometry. As a result, it is suggested that certain C-, Cb-, B-type, dark X-, and D-complex asteroids have spectral properties compatible with those of anhydrous interplanetary dust particles with tiny bright material, such as water ice. This supports the proposal regarding the C-complex asteroids (Vernazza et al. 2015, ApJ, 806, 204; 2017, AJ, 153, 72). A combination of the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy for AcuA-spec asteroids with other physical clues, such as the polarimetric inversion angle, radar albedo, and mid-infrared spectroscopic spectra, will be beneficial for surface material constraints from the AcuA-spec asteroid observations.


    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bryans, Paul [High Altitude Observatory, NCAR, Boulder CO 80301 (United States); Pesnell, W. Dean [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 671, Greenbelt MD 20771 (United States)


    When the sungrazing comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) made its perihelion passage within two solar radii of the Sun’s surface, it was expected to be a bright emitter at extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths. However, despite solar EUV telescopes repointing to track the orbit of the comet, no emission was detected. This “null result” is interesting in its own right, offering the possibility of placing limits on the size and composition of the nucleus. We explain the lack of detection by considering the properties of the comet and the solar atmosphere that determine the intensity of EUV emission from sungrazing comets. By comparing these properties with those of sungrazing comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), which did emit in the EUV, we conclude that the primary factor resulting in non-detectable EUV emission from C/2012 S1 (ISON) was an insufficiently large nucleus. We conclude that the radius of C/2012 S1 (ISON) was at least a factor of four less than that of C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy). This is consistent with white-light observations in the days before perihelion that suggested the comet was dramatically reducing in size on approach.

  17. Comet Hyakutake's close encounter with the Sun (United States)


    LASCO is a joint project between NRL (USA), the Max Planck Institut für Aeronomie (Germany), the Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale (France), and the School of Physics and Space Research at the University of Birmingham (UK). "Such observations require a special instrument in space to suppress the glare of the Sun and reveal the comet and its tails", said Dr. Guenter Brueckner, NRL's principal investigator for LASCO. Scattering of sunlight in the Earth's atmosphere prevented good views from the ground during the comet's "perihelion passage" when it was closest to the Sun. The orbital period of Comet Hyakutake has been estimated to be 10,000 years. Hyakutake is called a "new" comet because it was not seen when, and if, it last visited the solar system. As Hyakutake approaches the Sun, it is being heated enormously. If this is the first visit of the comet, it could be broken into pieces, according to scientists. Images captured by the LASCO instrument have shown that this did not happen when the comet was in LASCO's field of view, which is approximately the size of the constellation Orion. "Comet Hyakutake could have passed through the solar system many times before", said Dr. Brueckner, who is also head of the NRL's Solar Physics Branch. "How many times remains a mystery". Hyakutake's orbit carries it back into the so-called "Oort Cloud" a vast collection of billions of comets that is located 1.4 light years away from the solar system. These comets are presumably the remnants of the cloud from whic