Hydrated minerals and organic compounds in primitive asteroids

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Javier Andrés
Licandro Goldaracena
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Amount granted to the IAC Consortium
197.835,00 €

This project aims to continue our research on small bodies of the Solar System that started with two projects funded in previous calls: Science with OSIRIS-REx, led by J. Licandro(AYA201567772-R) and Primitive Asteroids Spectroscopic Study: Exploitation of data from Gaia and JWST led by J. de Léon (AYA2017-89090-P).

The broad scientific objective is to continue our exhaustive and systematic study of the hydrated mineralogies and organic content of the primitive asteroids (including near-Earth asteroids or NEAs comet-asteroid transitional objects and icy bodies) from the blue-visible (0.35 μm) to the 3-μm region, including the analysis of the data produced by the instruments on-board OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 missions. The common thread that connects these populations is the study of water- bearing and organic compounds on their surfaces. Our final goal is to map the water inventory in our solar system through its presence on these objects, their interaction with the Earth, and their role in the development of life in our planet. We will emphasize in the participation of our group in on-going missions like OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 to take advantage of this experience to assure an active participation in Hera, the ESA asteroid deflection mission that will launch in 2023. There is still a lot of work to do in the analysis of the images of both missions. The obtained experience will allow us to work on the analysis of the images of the binary asteroid Didymos (target of the Hera mission). Didymos and Bennu, are considered potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). We will continue characterizing primitive asteroids because it enhances and puts into context the science return of the missions we are involved in. Primitive asteroids and icy objects contain the most pristine material in the solar system. Primitive asteroids are considered the parental bodies of carbonaceous chondrites, on the basis of similarities in overall spectral shapes. These meteorites have undergone no melting and moderate thermal processing since the formation of our solar system (here their name primitive). Carbonaceous chondrites and so, primitive asteroids, are rich in carbon and organic compounds, as well as hydrated minerals. Its study can reveal information about the origin and evolution of our planetary system, and so, it is critical to characterize the surface properties (spectral and thermal) of the primitive asteroids collisional families in the main asteroid belt, the population of primitive asteroids in the external part of the main belt, and of the activated asteroids and MBCs (Main Belt Comets) populations.

We will continue with our spectroscopic survey of primitive asteroids (PRIMASS) in the visible and near-infrared using mainly telescopes of the ORM, and with our work on properties such as diameter and albedo using data from the WISE Space Telescope and spectroscopy in N band done with Spitzer and the GTC. PRIMASS is the largest spectral database of primitive asteroids, with more than 500 objects observed. This will be complemented with the analysis of the visible spectra of asteroids obtained by the ESA Gaia mission (~10.000 will be released early 2022, and ~100.000 at the end of the mission), the spectrophotometric data that is being produced by J-PLUS (Observatorio de Javalambre) and the visible color data that will produce the LSST in the next 4 years, and the near-infrared color data of ~150.000 asteroids that will produce EUCLID during its 6yr.

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Minor Bodies of the Solar System

This project studies the physical and compositional properties of the so-called minor bodies of the Solar System, that includes asteroids, icy objects, and comets. Of special interest are the trans-neptunian objects (TNOs), including those considered the most distant objects detected so far (Extreme-TNOs or ETNOs); the comets and the comet-asteroid

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León Cruz
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