Minor Bodies of the Solar System

    General
    Description

    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 transitional objects (Centaurs and main belt comets or MBCs); the primitive asteroids. The last two groups contain the most primordial and pristine material of the Solar System and so they provide the clues to understand the origin and the subsequent evolution of our system. Among asteroid population, the near-Earth asteroids or NEAs, as well as the potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) are of particular interest: due to their proximity to the Earth, they are the most accesible to spacecraft and so are ideal for in-situ or even sample-return space missions. In addition they are considered as future potential resources of materials (asteroid mining), and they are also impact hazards for the Earth. Regarding primitive asteroids, it is remarkable the spectroscopic survey (visible and near-infrared) led by the PI of this project (PRIMitive Asteroids Spectroscopic Survey - PRIMASS). This survey received financial support from NASA (17-PDART17_2-0097, PI: N. Pinilla-Alonso, 137.000€ - 2 years) in order to upload and archive at the Small Bodies Node of the NASA Planetary Data System the more than 800 spectra obtained.

    The compositional surface properties, as well as the physical and thermal properties of these objects are inferred through imaging, photometry, and spectroscopy in a wide range of wavelengths (from 0.35 up to 24 microns). Data are interpreted using scattering and thermo-physical models. This project works also in the study of the physical properties of the cometary nuclei, as well as properties of dust and coma in the tails of the MBCs and the mechanisms that generate them.

    This group maintains several international collaborations with other groups, and some of their members are also members of (1) the Science Team of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission, in particular the Image Processing Working Group, were they work with the images obtained with the OCAMS suite of cameras; (2) the coordination of an international group to study NEAs (EURONEAR); (3) the central core of the proponents of ESA M5 missions CASTALIA, CASTAway, and Hera; (4) the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science - CLASS (NASA); (5) the Solar System group of the Euclid consortium; (6) the surveys J-PLUS and J-PASS for the exploitation of observations of Solar System objects; (7) the Solar System working group of Gaia and JWST.

    Principal investigator
    Project manager
    Collaborators
    Dr.
    Noemí Pinilla-Alonso
    Dr.
    Humberto Campins
    Dr.
    Fernando Moreno Danvila
    Dr.
    Y. Fernández
    Dr.
    José Luis Ortiz
    Dr.
    R. Duffard
    Prof.
    R. Hil-Hutton

    Related publications

    • Anomalously porous boulders on (162173) Ryugu as primordial materials from its parent body

      Planetesimals—the initial stage of the planetary formation process—are considered to be initially very porous aggregates of dusts1,2, and subsequent thermal and compaction processes reduce their porosity3. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft found that boulders on the surface of asteroid (162173) Ryugu have an average porosity of 30-50% (refs. 4-6), higher

      Sakatani, N. et al.

      Advertised on:

      5
      2021
    • J-PLUS: A first glimpse at the spectrophotometry of asteroids. The MOOJa catalog

      Context. The Javalambre Photometric Local Universe Survey (J-PLUS) is an observational campaign that aims to obtain photometry in 12 ultraviolet-visible filters (0.3−1 μm) over ∼8500 deg2 of the sky observable from Javalambre (Teruel, Spain). Due to its characteristics and observation strategy, this survey will allow a great number of Solar System

      Morate, David et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Properties of slowly rotating asteroids from the Convex Inversion Thermophysical Model

      Context. Recent results for asteroid rotation periods from the TESS mission showed how strongly previous studies have underestimated the number of slow rotators, revealing the importance of studying those targets. For most slowly rotating asteroids (those with P > 12 h), no spin and shape model is available because of observation selection effects

      Marciniak, A. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • Spectrally blue hydrated parent body of asteroid (162173) Ryugu

      Ryugu is a carbonaceous rubble-pile asteroid visited by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. Small rubble pile asteroids record the thermal evolution of their much larger parent bodies. However, recent space weathering and/or solar heating create ambiguities between the uppermost layer observable by remote-sensing and the pristine material from the parent

      Tatsumi, Eri et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • Widely distributed exogenic materials of varying compositions and morphologies on asteroid (101955) Bennu

      Using the multiband imager MapCam on board the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft, we identified 77 instances of proposed exogenic materials distributed globally on the surface of the B-type asteroid (101955) Bennu. We identified materials as exogenic on the basis of an

      Tatsumi, Eri et al.

      Advertised on:

      12
      2021
    • Spectral properties of near-Earth objects with low-Jovian Tisserand invariant

      The near-Earth objects with low-Jovian Tisserand invariant (TJ) represent about 9 per cent of the known objects orbiting in the near-Earth space, being subject of numerous planetary encounters and large temperature variations. We aim to make a spectral characterization for a large sample of NEOs with TJ ≤ 3.1. Consequently, we can estimate the

      Simion, N. G. et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Opposition Observations of 162173 Ryugu: Normal Albedo Map Highlights Variations in Regolith Characteristics

      On 2019 January 8, the Telescopic Optical Navigation Camera (ONC-T) on board the Hayabusa2 spacecraft observed the Cb-type asteroid 162173 Ryugu under near-opposition illumination and viewing conditions from approximately 20 km in distance. Although opposition observations have never been used for mapping purposes of a planetary body, we found

      Yokota, Yasuhiro et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • High-resolution observations of bright boulders on asteroid Ryugu: 2. Spectral properties

      Many small boulders with reflectance values higher than 1.5 times the average reflectance have been found on the near-Earth asteroid 162,173 Ryugu. Based on their visible wavelength spectral differences, Tatsumi et al. (2021, Nature Astronomy, 5, doi:10.1038/s41550-020-1179-z) defined two bright boulder classes: C-type and S-type. These two

      Sugimoto, Chiho et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Spectrophotometric Properties of 162173 Ryugu's Surface from the NIRS3 Opposition Observations

      Examination of the opposition geometry properties show that Ryugu's surface regolith is commensurate with laboratory studies of the photometric behavior of powdered carbonaceous chondrites. The regolith is consistent with a broad grain size distribution that contains a fine-grained component.

      Domingue, Deborah et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021
    • High-resolution observations of bright boulders on asteroid Ryugu: 1. Size frequency distribution and morphology

      The near-Earth asteroid (162173) Ryugu displays a Cb-type average spectrum and a very low average normal albedo of 0.04. Although the majority of boulders on Ryugu have reflectance spectra and albedo similar to the Ryugu average, a small fraction of boulders exhibit anomalously high albedo and distinctively different spectra. A previous study

      Sugimoto, Chiho et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Geologic History and Crater Morphology of Asteroid (162173) Ryugu

      Crater morphology and surface age of asteroid (162173) Ryugu are characterized using the high-resolution images obtained by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. Our observations reveal that the abundant boulders on and under the surface of the rubble-pile asteroid affect crater morphology. Most of the craters on Ryugu exhibit well-defined circular depressions

      Cho, Y. et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Dust environment of active asteroids P/2019 A4 (PANSTARRS) and P/2021 A5 (PANSTARRS)

      We report on the characterization of the dust activity and dynamical evolution of two faint active asteroids, P/2019 A4, and P/2021 A5, observed with the 10.4 m GTC using both imaging and spectroscopy. Asteroid P/2019 A4 activity is found to be linked to an impulsive event occurring some ±10 d around perihelion, probably due to a collision or a

      Moreno, Fernando et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2021
    • Spectral diversity of the inner belt primitive asteroid background population

      We present new near-infrared spectra of 55 objects observed using the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, along with visible spectra of 21 objects obtained from the SMASS and S3OS2 surveys, to explore the differences in spectral slope and curvature between the background and the families and to show that the

      Arredondo, Anicia et al.

      Advertised on:

      11
      2021
    • Regional Photometric Modeling of Asteroid (101955) Bennu

      We present a regional photometric analysis of asteroid (101955) Bennu, using image data from the MapCam color imager of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS). This analysis follows the previously reported global photometric analysis of Bennu, which found that Bennu's roughness was difficult to photometrically model owing to unresolved surface

      Golish, D. R. et al.

      Advertised on:

      8
      2021
    • Natural Night Sky Brightness during Solar Minimum

      In 2018, Solar Cycle 24 entered into a solar minimum phase. During this period, 11 million zenithal night sky brightness (NSB) data were collected at different dark sites around the planet, including astronomical observatories and natural protected areas, with identical broadband Telescope Encoder and Sky Sensor photometers (based on the Unihedron

      Alarcon, Miguel R. et al.

      Advertised on:

      7
      2021
    • Development of image texture analysis technique for boulder distribution measurements: Applications to asteroids Ryugu and Itokawa

      Recent asteroid missions have revealed that many sub-kilometer asteroids are rubble piles. Large parts of their surfaces are covered with boulders larger than tens of centimeters. An evaluation of the abundance and size distribution of boulders provides clues to understand surface processes on boulder-covered asteroids. Here we report a new method

      Tanabe, Naoya et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2021
    • Activity of the Jupiter co-orbital comet P/2019 LD<SUB>2</SUB> (ATLAS) observed with OSIRIS at the 10.4 m GTC

      Context. The existence of comets with heliocentric orbital periods close to that of Jupiter (i.e., co-orbitals) has been known for some time. Comet 295P/LINEAR (2002 AR2) is a well-known quasi-satellite of Jupiter. However, their orbits are not long-term stable, and they may eventually experience flybys with Jupiter at very close range, close

      Licandro, J. et al.

      Advertised on:

      6
      2021
    • Resurfacing processes on asteroid (162173) Ryugu caused by an artificial impact of Hayabusa2's Small Carry-on Impactor

      The resurfacing process on Ryugu accompanying the artificial impact crater formation by Hayabusa2's Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) was studied by comparing pre- and post-impact images of this region captured by an optical navigation camera. Three different aspects of the resurfacing process were examined: the crater rim profiles, the motion of

      Honda, Rie et al.

      Advertised on:

      9
      2021
    • The active centaur 2020 MK<SUB>4</SUB>

      Context. Centaurs go around the Sun between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune. Only a fraction of the known centaurs have been found to display comet-like features. Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 is the most remarkable active centaur. It orbits the Sun just beyond Jupiter in a nearly circular path. Only a handful of known objects follow similar

      de la Fuente Marcos, C. et al.

      Advertised on:

      5
      2021
    • The EURONEAR Lightcurve Survey of Near Earth Asteroids—Teide Observatory, Tenerife, 2015

      One meter class telescopes could bring important contributions in the acquisition of lightcurves of near earth asteroids (NEAs), based on which rotations and other physical properties could be derived or constrained. Part of a collaboration between IAC, ESA and the EURONEAR during the semester 2015A, the IAC80 and OGS telescopes at Teide

      Vaduvescu, O. et al.

      Advertised on:

      10
      2021

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