NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008B-0479

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Proposal Information for 2008B-0479


PI: Rachel Stevenson, University of Hawaii, rach@ifa.hawaii.edu
Address: Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA

CoI: David Jewitt, University of Hawaii

Title: Hydration of Hilda Asteroids - The Search for Liquid Water in the Early Solar System

Abstract: Hydration in small bodies in the inner solar system indicates that those bodies formed rapidly (within ~3.5Myr) and trapped significant amounts of Al-26. As the Al-26 radioactively decayed, the heat released melted water ice which then chemically altered the surrounding minerals. Today, we can observe those aqueously altered minerals through absorption bands in reflectance spectra and use their presence to infer the thermal and chemical history of the objects. The distribution of hydrated minerals across the inner solar system can be used to constrain the range of distances over which liquid water existed, thus leading to information about the early solar nebula. While many main belt asteroids are known to have hydrated minerals, little is known about the extent of hydration on the Hilda asteroids at 4AU - a group of objects which likely also underwent aqueous alteration. We propose to determine to what extent hydration has affected the surface composition of these bodies and use the results to compare the past thermal evolution of the Hildas with their neighbors, the main belt asteroids.


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