PI: Cristina A. Thomas, Northern Arizona University, email@example.com
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, PO Box 6010, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
CoI: David E. Trilling, Northern Arizona University
CoI: Joshua P. Emery, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Title: Physical Characterization of the Near-Earth Object Population
Abstract: The majority of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) originated in collisions between bodies in the main asteroid belt and have found their way into near-Earth space via complex and little understood dynamical interactions. This transport of material from the main belt into the inner Solar System has shaped the histories of the terrestrial planets. However, despite their scientific importance, key characteristics of the NEO population remain largely unexplored. We propose to follow up our Warm Spitzer Exploration Science Program (PI: Trilling) and the concurrent spectroscopic observing campaign by obtaining visible wavelength spectra to enhance our understanding of the compositional properties of various NEOs. These observations will shed light on several questions raised in our initial study. We will improve estimates of average albedo by taxonomic class in the NEO population, study the NEO population's sampling of the Main Belt taxonomic classes, and determine if there is a dependence of composition on size for various NEO source regions. By continuing to combine the size and albedo information from Spitzer with the compositional information from ground-based spectroscopy we hope to shed light on several questions about the evolution and origin of the near-Earth asteroid population.