Spitzer Thermal Emission Spectra of Asteroids: Implications for the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems

The Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) on Spitzer has observed more than 120 asteroids, several Centaurs and Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), and satellites of the giant planets. As capabilities continue to improve, direct observations of small body populations in other systems and inter-comparisons between systems will foster significant insights into the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In this talk, Josh will present an overview of the IRS observations of small Solar System bodies, with a few representative objects highlighted for detailed discussion. 

Mission to a Potentially Threatening Asteroid

Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are interesting to both planetary scientists and those who are concerned about protecting against their impacts. The first step, now well underway, is to find them (with the Spacegaurd Survey). Next we need to characterize NEAs using small spacecraft missions. We are especially interested in the sub-km NEAs, since they are the most likely to hit the Earth and also the most accessible targets for human flights beyond the Moon. This talk focuses on a low-cost rendezvous mission to NEA Apophis, with the goal of characterizing both the asteroid and its orbit.


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