NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014B-0332

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Proposal Information for 2014B-0332


PI: Joshua Emery, University of Tennessee, jemery2@utk.edu
Address: 306 EPS Building, 1412 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

CoI: Jim Bell, Arizona State University
CoI: David Trilling, Northern Arizona University
CoI: Jennifer Patience, Arizona State University
CoI: Mike Brown, Caltech (Geo. and Planetary)

Title: Where did the Trojan asteroids form? Constraints from composition and size distributions

Abstract: We propose to make near-infrared (0.8 – 2.5 μm) spectral observations of 15 small to medium sized (<100 km) Jovian Trojan asteroids. These objects are part of a substantial population of primitive bodies trapped in Jupiter’s stable Lagrange regions. Because they may have become trapped in these orbits at the end of the initial phase of planetary formation and subsequent migration, the physical properties of Trojans provide unique perspectives on chemical and dynamical processes that shaped the Solar System. Indeed, in recognition of their importance, the Trojans are one of only five allowable target destinations for NASA’s next New Frontiers mission. Previous observations have identified two spectral classes, suggesting that the Trojans are comprised of two distinct compositional groups, perhaps representing distinct outer Solar System reservoirs for their formation. These new proposed observations will: (a) Enable a search for minor absorptions due to ices, organics, and/or silicates in the smallest Trojans yet observed, near and below the size regime thought to represent the largest collisional fragments from impacts within the Trojan clouds; and (b) Test whether the two spectral groups previously identified have different cumulative size distributions, which would suggest different internal strengths and support the hypothesis of distinct compositions and origins.


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