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L-Cam Project Science Focus II: Lunar Optical Telescope for Asteroid Study

Presentation #350.05 in the session The Sun and the Solar System — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
L-Cam Project Science Focus II: Lunar Optical Telescope for Asteroid Study

L-CAM is a commercial lunar optical telescope designed by AstronetX planned to be included as an attached payload on a future NASA mission. Mounted on a lander to take advantage of the stable platform, L-CAM will be used to study exoplanets and asteroids for an observation period of up to one year. In this presentation, we focus on near Earth asteroids as well as main-belt asteroids with apparent visual magnitude Vmag<14. Equipped with a wide field visible light camera, L-CAM will gather continuous time series observations of approximately two dozen asteroids. We will describe the methods used to construct a typical campaign program, namely, the target selection, observing cadence, sensitivities, and the extent of the observation time baseline. The time series data will allow us to measure the astrometric positions, the spin/shape on a broad timescale (between 24 hours and 1000 hours) with high photometric accuracy (SNR>10 for 15 min exposure). It may be possible to detect mutual events (transit and eclipse) for some binary asteroids (e.g. 216 Kleopatra) allowing us to refine the orbits of their moons and detect complex perturbations.

Acknowledgement: This project is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF10467 to AstronetX PBC. Participation of CM made possible by the LSU REU program (NSF award PHY-1852356). Participation of PS-R made possible by the SETI Institute REU program (NSF award 2051007).

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