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ExploreNEOs. III. Physical characterization of 65 potential spacecraft target asteroids

Mueller, M. and Delbo, M. and Hora, J.L. and Trilling, D.E. and Bhattacharya, B. and Bottke, W.F. and Chesley, S. and Emery, J.P. and Fazio, G. and Harris, A.W. and Mainzer, A. and Mommert, M. and Penprase, B. and Smith, H.A. and Spahr, T.B. and Stansberry, J.A. and Thomas, C.A. (2011) ExploreNEOs. III. Physical characterization of 65 potential spacecraft target asteroids. Astronomical Journal, 141 (4), pp. 1-9. Institute of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/141/4/109.

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Official URL: http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-3881/141/4/109/pdf/aj_141_4_109.pdf


Space missions to near-Earth objects (NEOs) are being planned at all major space agencies, and recently a manned mission to an NEO was announced as a NASA goal. Efforts to find and select suitable targets (plus backup targets) are severely hampered by our lack of knowledge of the physical properties of dynamically favorable NEOs. In particular, current mission scenarios tend to favor primitive low-albedo objects. For the vast majority of NEOs, the albedo is unknown. Here we report new constraints on the size and albedo of 65 NEOs with rendezvous Δv < 7 kms−1. Our results are based on thermal-IR flux data obtained in the framework of our ongoing (2009–2011) ExploreNEOs survey using NASA’s “Warm-Spitzer” space telescope. As of 2010 July 14, we have results for 293 objects in hand (including the 65 low-Δv NEOs presented here); before the end of 2011, we expect to have measured the size and albedo of∼700 NEOs (including probably∼160 low-Δv NEOs). While there are reasons to believe that primitive volatile-rich materials are universally low in albedo, the converse need not be true: the orbital evolution of some dark objects likely has caused them to lose their volatiles by coming too close to the Sun. For all our targets, we give the closest perihelion distance they are likely to have reached (using orbital integrations from Marchi et al. 2009) and corresponding upper limits on the past surface temperature. Low-Δv objects for which both albedo and thermal history may suggest a primitive composition include (162998) 2001 SK162, (68372) 2001 PM9, and (100085) 1992 UY4.

Document Type:Article
Additional Information:Article i.d: The Astronomical Journal, Volume 141, Issue 4, article id. 109 (2011)
Title:ExploreNEOs. III. Physical characterization of 65 potential spacecraft target asteroids
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Mueller, M.Universite de Nice Sophia Antipolis, France
Delbo, M.Universite de Nice Sophia Antipolis, France
Hora, J.L.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
Trilling, D.E.Northern Arizona University, USA
Bhattacharya, B.NASA Herschel Science Center Caltech, USA
Bottke, W.F.Southwest Research Institute, USA
Chesley, S.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA
Emery, J.P.Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, USA
Fazio, G.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
Harris, A.W.alan.harris@dlr.de
Mainzer, A.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA
Mommert, M.michael.mommert@dlr.de
Penprase, B.Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College, USA
Smith, H.A.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
Spahr, T.B.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
Stansberry, J.A.Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, USA
Thomas, C.A.Northern Arizona University, USA
Date:April 2011
Journal or Publication Title:Astronomical Journal
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/141/4/109
Page Range:pp. 1-9
Publisher:Institute of Physics
Keywords:Asteroids, Near-Earth objects, Spitzer Space telescope
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Asteroiden und Kometen (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Asteroids and Comets
Deposited By: Prof. Alan Harris
Deposited On:11 May 2011 14:07
Last Modified:20 Mar 2013 19:44

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