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Asteroid-meteorite mapping: exploring effects of grain size

Presentation #220.04 in the session Laboratory Investigations (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Asteroid-meteorite mapping: exploring effects of grain size

In the event of a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) threat to the earth, groups like NASA’s Asteroid Threat Awareness Program (ATAP) provide risk assessments for a potential Earth-bound collision. ATAP’s models require estimates of the bulk properties of the PHA to provide the most accurate results. Particularly for newly discovered objects that do not have albedo estimates, one low-cost means to understand the composition of a PHA is through visible and near-infrared spectroscopy.

One critical remaining step is to determine to which meteorite group a PHA is most similar. Risk assessment models use bulk properties of meteorites collected in the lab (e.g., strength, bulk density etc.). Connecting an asteroid’s composition to a meteorite group becomes the key challenge for planetary defense.

We present preliminary results of clustering analyses using band parameters derived from near-infrared spectroscopy of meteorite data taken from RELAB. This work provides the potential range of band parameters for meteorite groups with various compositions. In this work, we explore the effect of grain size on the band parameters for ordinary chondrites meteorites. Additionally, we extend similar work (McAdam et al., ACM 2235) to the visible wavelengths to provide another low-cost mechanism for determining an asteroid’s composition and potential meteorite analog relevant for risk assessment modeling. Future work will begin to directly compare telescopic data to these band parameter clusters to validate this method.

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