Multiple Asteroid Systems: New Techniques to Study New Worlds

Since the discovery of Ida’s companion Dactyl in 1993, the number of known multiple asteroids has been continuously increasing and ~165 of them are now known. Since 2003, Dr. Marchis and his colleagues have been conducting a large survey of these interesting and diverse populations using various ground-based telescopes and techniques, such as high angular resolution imaging, lightcurve photometry, and VIS/NIR spectroscopy, and also the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes. Dr.

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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