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AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Solar System Small Bodies: Relics of Formation and New Worlds to Explore

December 18, 2014

Can you believe it is December already!? As usual, it is a busy month with the AGU Fall Conference.  I co-organized a session on small solar system bodies with Padma Yanamandra-Fisher (PSI)  and Julie Castillo (JPL).  We will talk about recent discoveries in this emerging field including the discovery of rings around Chariklo, the understanding of regolith motion on asteroids, the new lander for Hayabusa 2 (MASCOT) and off course adaptive optics observations of asteroids. Below more info. See you there!

Where: Thursday, December 18, 2014 01:40 PM – 03:40 PM
When: Moscone West 3002

Why: The composition and physical properties of Small Solar System Bodies (SSSBs), remnants of the formation of planets, are key to better understand the origins of our solar system and their potential as resources is necessary for robotic and human exploration. Missions such as ESA/Gaia, NASA/OSIRIS-REx, JAXA/Hyabusa-2, NASA/Dawn and NASA/New Horizons, to study asteroids, comets, dwarf planets and TNOs are poised to provide new in situ information. on SSSBs.  Recent remote observations of bright and main belt comets; asteroid Chariklo, with its ring system; asteroid and KBO binaries illustrate that the distinction between comets and asteroids is blurred, providing a new paradigm for such classification. This session welcomes abstracts on the remarkable results bringing information on the internal structure and composition of SSSBs based on space and ground-based data, numerical models, as well as instrument/mission concepts in theprospect of future exploration.

Artistic representation of the triple asteroid system showing the large 270-km asteroid Sylvia surrounded by its two satellites, Romulus and Remus. The differentiated interior of the asteroid is shown through a cutaway diagram. The primary asteroid of the system may have a dense, regularly-shaped core, surrounding by a fluffy or fractured material. The two moons are shown to be strongly elongated, and composed of two lobes, as suggested by the recently observed occultation data by the satellite Romulus. (credits: D. Futselaar & F. Marchis)


Primary Conveners
Franck Marchis – Carl Sagan Center, SETI institute

Co-conveners
Padma Yanamandra-Fisher
Space Science Institute

Julie Castillo
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Carey Lisse
JHU-APL

 Program: 

1:40 PM
P43F-01 The Ring System Discovered Around the Centaur Object (10199) Chariklo (Invited)
Felipe Braga-Ribas1, Bruno Sicardy2, Jose L Ortiz3, Roberto Vieira Martins1, Francois Colas4, Rene Duffard3, Julio I.B. Camargo1, Josselin Desmars1, Amanda Gulbis5,6, Marcelo Assafin7, Lucie Maquet2, Wolfgang Beisker8, Gustavo Benedetti-Rossi1, Frederic Vachier4, Christophe Dumas9, Valentin D. Ivanov9, Stefan Renner4,10, Karl-Ludwig Bath11, Alain Klotz12 and Joseph T. Pollock13, (1)Observatorio Nacional, GPA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (2)Paris Observatory Meudon, LESIA, Meudon, France, (3)Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, Granada, Spain, (4)Observatoire de Paris, IMCCE, Paris, France, (5)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (6)South African Astronomycal Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa, (7)Observatório do Valongo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (8)Internetional Occultation Timing Associatios, European Section, Munich, Germany, (9)European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile, (10)Université de Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, (11)Internationale Amateursternwarte, Heidelberg, Germany, (12)Universite de Toulouse, Toulouse, France, (13)Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, United States

1:55 PM
P43F-02 A new mechanism for the formation of regolith on asteroids (Invited)
Marco Delbo1, Guy Libourel1,2, Justin Wilkerson3, Naomi Murdoch4, Patrick Michel1, K. T. Ramesh3, Clément Ganino2, Chrystele Verati2 and Simone Marchi5, (1)UNS-CNRS-Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, Laboratoire Lagrange, NIce, France, (2)UNS-CNRS-Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur, Laboratoire Géoazur, NIce, France, (3)Johns Hopkins University, Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), Baltimore, MD, United States, (4)Institut Superieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse, France, (5)NASA Lunar Science Institute, Boulder, CO, United States

2:10 PM
P43F-03 New Dust Measurements throughout the Solar System
Mihaly Horanyi, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
2:25 PM
P43F-04 The Water Regime of Ceres and its Potential Habitability (Invited)
Jian-Yang Li, Planetary Science Institute Tucson, Tucson, AZ, United States, Mark V Sykes, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, United States, Julie C Castillo, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States and Lucy-Ann McFadden, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States

2:40 PM
P43F-05 Vesta’s Pinaria Region- A window on Vesta’s Ancient Crust
ABSTRACT WITHDRAWN

2:52 PM
P43F-06 Composition of Rheasilvia Basin on Asteroid Vesta.
Eleonora Ammannito1, Maria Cristina De Sanctis2, Fabrizio Capaccioni2, Maria Teresa Capria2, Jean Philippe Combe3, Alessandro Frigeri2, Ralf Jaumann4, Andrea Longobardo2, Simone Marchi5, Thomas B McCord3, Harry Y McSween Jr6, David W Mittlefehldt7, Katrin Stephan8, Federico Tosi9, Carol A Raymond10, Christopher T Russell11 and Dawn Science Team, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)IAPS-INAF, Rome, Italy, (3)Bear Fight Institute, Winthrop, WA, United States, (4)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (5)NASA Lunar Science Institute, Boulder, CO, United States, (6)University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States, (7)NASA/Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States, (8)German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany, (9)INAF, Rome, Italy, (10)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (11)Univ California, Los Angeles, CA, United States
3:04 PM
P43F-07 A Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for the Hayabusa 2 Mission to 1999 JU3: The Scientific Approach
Ralf Jaumann1, J.-P. Bibring2, Karl-Heinz Glassmeier3, Matthias Grott1, T.-M. Ho4, Stephan Ulamec5, Nicole Schmitz1, Hans Ulrich Auster3, Jens Biele5, H. Kuninaka6, Tatsuaki Okada7, Masako Yoshikawa8, Seiichiro Watanabe9, Masaki Fujimoto10, Tilman Spohn1, Alexander Koncz1, D. Hercik3 and Harald Michaelis1, (1)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (2)Univ. de Paris Sud-Orsay, IAS, Orsay, France, (3)Technical University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, (4)German Aerospace Center DLR Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (5)German Aerospace Center DLR Cologne, Cologne, Germany, (6)JSPEC/JAXA, Yoshinodai, Chuo, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, (7)ISAS/JAXA, Kanagawa, Japan, (8)Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, (9)Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, (10)JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan

3:16 PM
P43F-08 The Potential of Extreme Adaptive Optics Systems for Asteroid Studies
Franck Marchis1, David Vega1 and Gemini Planet Imager Science Team, (1)SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States
Pa 3:28 PM
P43F-09 End of Life Scenarios for Rubble Pile Asteroids
Daniel Jay Scheeres, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States

Poster session

When: Friday, December 19, 201408:00 AM – 12:20 PM
Where: Moscone South Poster Hall

P51D-3975 The IMACS Occultation Survey: I. Pilot Study
Matthew Jon Holman1, Matthew John Payne1, Charles Alcock2, Hilke Schlichting3, David Osip4, Federica Bianco5, Brian McLeod1, Ruth Murray-Clay1, Paul Nulsen2, Pavlos Protopapas6, Ian Thompson4, Greg Burley7 and Christoph Birk4, (1)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Carnegie Inst Washington, Las Campanas Observatory, Washington, DC, United States, (5)New York University, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York, NY, United States, (6)Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (7)NRC Canada, Herzberg Astrophysics, Victoria, BC, Canada

P51D-3967 Lessons from Dynamic Heds: Diagonite Microstructures Suggest Solid-State Deformation, Annealing and Incipient Differentiation
Sandra Piazolo1, Tracy A Rushmer1 and Vladimir Luzin2, (1)Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (2)Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation, Bragg Institute, Lucas Heights, Australia

P51D-3969 Preparing for NEO Sample Return: Simulating the Effects of Laser Space Weathering on Macromolecular Carbon
Jeffrey Gillis-Davis1, Patrick James Gasda1, John P. Bradley1, Song ChengYu2 and VORTICES science team, (1)Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States

P51D-3970 Gullies and Lobate Deposits as Geomorphological Evidence for Impact-induced Transient Water Flow and Localized, Buried Ice-bearing Deposits on Vesta.
Jennifer E. C. Scully1, C. T. Russell2, An Yin1, Ralf Jaumann3, Elizabeth M. Carey4, Harry Y McSween Jr5, Julie C Castillo6, Carol A Raymond6, Vishnu Reddy7 and Lucille Le Corre7, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)Univ California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (4)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (5)University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States, (6)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (7)Planetary Science Institute Tucson, Tucson, AZ, United States

P51D-3971 A Deep Moho in “Small Planet” Vesta and Implication Regarding the Chondritic Nature of Protoplanets
Harold Clenet1, Martin Jutzi2, Jean-Alix Barrat3, Erik I Asphaug4, Willy Benz2 and Philippe Gillet1, (1)EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, (2)University of Bern, Physics Institute, Space Research and Planetary Sciences, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland, (3)IUEM Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Plouzané, France, (4)Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States

P51D-3972 Emissivity and Reflectance Spectra of Asteroid Analogs: Their Dependence on Emerging Angle
Alessandro Maturilli1, Jorn Helbert1, Mario D’Amore1 and Sabrina Ferrari2, (1)German Aerospace Center DLR Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (2)DLR, Berlin, Germany

P51D-3973 Spectral Characterization of Phobos Analogues Under Simulated Environmental Conditions

Kerri L Donaldson Hanna1, Neil E Bowles1, Christopher S Edwards2, Timothy D Glotch3, Benjamin T Greenhagen4, Carle M Pieters5 and Ian Thomas1, (1)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (2)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, United States, (4)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (5)Brown University, Providence, RI, United States

P51D-3974 The mineralogy and internal structure of Multiple Asteroid Systems
Sean Stephen Lindsay1,2, Franck Marchis3, Joshua P Emery1, J. Emilio Enriquez3,4 and Marcelo Assafin5, (1)Univ of Tennessee-EPS, Knoxville, TN, United States, (2)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (3)SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States, (4)Radboud University Nijmegen, Department of Astrophysics, Nijmegen, Netherlands, (5)Observatório do Valongo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

P51D-3968 Modelling the Neutral Sodium Tails of Comets
Kimberley S Birkett1,2, Geraint H Jones1,2 and Andrew J Coates1,2, (1)University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, London, United Kingdom, (2)University College London, Centre for Planetary Sciences (at UCL/Birkbeck), London, United Kingdom

P51D-3976 The IMACS Occultation Survey: II. An Extended Campaign
Matthew John Payne1, Matthew Jon Holman1, Charles Alcock2, Hilke Schlichting3, David Osip4, Federica Bianco5, Brian McLeod1, Paul Nulsen2, Pavlos Protopapas6, Ruth Murray-Clay1 and Ian Thompson4, (1)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)Carnegie Inst Washington, Las Campanas Observatory, Washington, DC, United States, (5)New York University, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York, NY, United States, (6)Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3977 The Whipple Mission: Exploring the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud
Charles Alcock1, Michael E. Brown2, Thomas Gauron1, Cate Heneghan3, Matthew Jon Holman4, Almus Kenter5, Ralph Kraft6, Roger Lee3, John Livingston3, James Mcguire3, Stephen S Murray7, Ruth Murray-Clay4, Paul Nulsen1, Matthew John Payne4, Hilke Schlichting8, Amy Trangsrud3, Jan Vrtilek1 and Michael Werner3, (1)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (5)Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, United States, (6)Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (7)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (8)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3978 Whipple Mission Design – Fields, Orbit, Schedule
Amy Trangsrud1, Drew Jones1, John Livingston1, Stephen S Murray2 and Charles Alcock3, (1)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (3)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3979 The Whipple Mission: Design and development of the focal plane
Almus Kenter1, Ralph Kraft1, Stephen S Murray2, Thomas Gauron1, Charles Alcock1 and Jan Vrtilek1, (1)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States

P51D-3980 Whipple Mission Simulations – Detectability and Parameter Extraction
Stephen S Murray1,2, Charles Alcock2, Paul Nulsen2, Ralph Kraft2 and Almus Kenter2, (1)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (2)Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, United States

P51D-3981 Castalia – A Mission to a Main Belt Comet
Download ePoster
Geraint H Jones, University College London, Centre for Planetary Sciences (at UCL/Birkbeck), London, United Kingdom and The Castalia Team

P51D-3982 Spectral Analysis of Cometary X-Rays Emission Mechanisms
Bradford Theodore Snios, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, United States, Vasili Alex Kharchenko, UConn & Harvard-Smiths. CfA, Upton, MA, United States and Nicholas Lewkow, University of Connecticut, Somerville, MA, United States

 

House Hearings Fail to Tap NASA’s Full Potential

September 11, 2014

Yesterday the  U.S. House of Representatives  Subcommittee on Space held a hearing entitled “Exploring Our Solar System: The ASTEROIDS Act as a Key Step Planetary science“. I was curious about this act and expected the hearing to focus on interesting new ways to motivate private companies to design, launch, and operate space missions, and further the study of our Solar System.

Five witnesses at the House Hearing on “Exploring Our Solar System: The ASTEROIDS Act as a Key Step Planetary science”


The five witnesses chosen to testify included a NASA civil servant, three well-known planetary scientists and one professor specialized in space law.

Soon after the hearing began, viewers, included me, realized that it was focused not on the ASTEROIDS Act, or planetary science or space exploration, but on NASA’s budget for planetary science. The hearing should have been called  ”NASA’s Planetary Spacecraft Budget for 2015″—but everyone knew that topic would attract little if any interest.

The witnesses knew the true nature of the hearing, and the first four limited their discussion to NASA space missions. Unfortunately, none mentioned the remarkable contribution of ground-based and space telescopes to planetary science, with the exception of Jim Bell, who briefly muttered the word “exoplanets.” No one mentioned the magnificent images collected by the Hubble Space Telescope (e.g. plumes on Europa), or those from large telescopes  (Io’s volcanism, asteroid impact on Jupiter). Nor did anyone mention the bright future just ahead, when millions of small solar system bodies are discovered by the LSST, the JWST begins to study exoplanets, and extremely large telescopes provide data resolution as detailed as global Galileo spacecraft observations.

Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). Image Credit: NASA

A lot of planetary scientists don’t like the ARM concept but  I regret that it was discussed at length. If the mission concept is as bad as presented, we can be sure it will be abandoned by the next administration just as the current one abandoned a new race to the Moon. It’s disappointing that there were few mentions of the impact of planetary science on technological advances, or the immense contribution made by our field in inspiring young people to study STEM. A more enlightened subcommittee would also have heard testimony on how to use space exploration to understand climate change, and mitigate its effect. And it would have studied, rather than superficially discussed, our ability to secure new resources in the not-too-distant future by mining asteroids.

Finally, most of the testimony adamantly promoted a “business as usual” attitude, which we can summarize as “NASA needs more money to develop more Discovery and New Frontiers missions.” It would have been great to discuss new ideas that are not part of this 60-year-old schema. In the past, NASA has shown a commitment to innovation, but sadly this hearing was a lost opportunity for decision makers to hear new thoughts from planetary scientists.

NASA leveraged its $800M COTS program budget with partner funds. This resulted in two new U.S. medium-class launch vehicles built by SpaceX and Orbital and two automated cargo spacecraft (Dragon and Cygnus)  and demonstrated the efficiency of such partnerships.

There is no way to indefinitely increase NASA’s budget to match the rapidly soaring price of missions. But we can dedicate part of its budget to help develop a private space-exploration industry committed to bringing new ideas to life and reducing the cost of exploration. True, the ASTEROIDS act  will set a “legal framework” to determine the rights of private interests to extract and control space mining—an important step. But we need to take a second step: COTS-like funding to support New Space industries (Planetary Resources, DSI, B612, Google X Prize, etc.). This would allow NASA to define a need, and invest in and consult with the people pursuing it. This would also allow privately operated space partners to receive funding from NASA to find visionary, innovative, low-cost ways to explore space.

This new initiative would also free NASA to focus on the most challenging parts of the planetary science program, such as  a mission to Europa. For innovative, higher-risk ideas, a partnership with New Space companies could allow the agency to remain on the forefront of space exploration while promoting an emerging industry. In this context,  perhaps commercial space exploration companies could come up with innovative ways to do a mission similar to an Asteroid Redirect Mission.

Clear skies,

Franck M.