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Proposal Information for 2002A-0024


PI: Richard P. Binzel, MIT, rpb@mit.edu
Address: Bldg 54 Room 410, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

CoI: Andrew S. Rivkin, MIT

Title: Near-Earth Objects: A Multi-Wavelength Population and Exploration Assessment

Abstract: This proposal requests a one semester continuation of an existing long-term (three semester) program that otherwise expires at the end of semester 2001B. The reasons for requesting a one semester continuation are: (1) Supporting observations are needed for continuing IRTF time and proposed/pending Keck time in 2002A. (2) Fifty-percent (3 out of 6) of our nights to date have been lost to weather. Effectively, 3 nights is one semester's allocation. (3) Key scientific results obtained/published from the initial runs demonstrate productivity and success of this program as highlighted in the September \it NOAO Newsletter. KPNO measurements are the missing component in a multi-wavelength investigation of the near-Earth object (NEO) population involving Keck and IRTF. Achieving the goals of understanding: \hspace*1.5cm ``What is the compositional and size distribution of the NEO population?'' \hspace*1.5cm ``What are the relationships between asteroids, comets, and meteorites?'' requires a correlation between basic composition (visible spectra), mineralogic interpretation (near- infrared spectra), and albedo (thermal flux) data. Keck (thermal) and IRTF (near-IR) programs now leave only KPNO (visible) measurements as the missing component in this first concentrated multi-wavelength attack. A broad sample of objects having known basic compositions, for which RCSP measurements have been proven effective, is the foremost requirement for defining the population from which a subset of multi- wavelength observations will be most diagnostic. We have achieved multi- wavelength characterization for 10 objects despite the KPNO weather. Most notable is the MUSES-C sample return target 1998 SF36, for which our just published multi-wavelength observations reveal a strong correlation to ordinary chondrite meteorites.


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