The Warm Spitzer NEO Survey: Exploring the History of the Inner Solar System and Near Earth Space

Trilling, D. E., Bhattacharya, B., Bottke, W., Chesley, S., Delbo, M., Emery, J., Fazio, G., Harris, A., Hora, J., Mainzer, A., Mueller, M., Penprase, B., Smith, H., Spahr, T. & Stansberry, J., May-2009, In : Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. 41, p. 716

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractAcademic

  • David E. Trilling
  • B. Bhattacharya
  • W. Bottke
  • S. Chesley
  • M. Delbo
  • J. Emery
  • G. Fazio
  • A. Harris
  • J. Hora
  • A. Mainzer
  • M. Mueller
  • B. Penprase
  • H. Smith
  • T. Spahr
  • J. Stansberry
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 --- such as the size distribution, mix of albedos and mineralogies, and contributions from so-called dead or dormant comets --- remain largely unexplored; some 99% of all presently known NEOs are essentially uncharacterized. Recent evidence suggests that the size distribution of NEOs may undergo a transition at 1 km, and that the smaller bodies may record fundamental physical processes that are presently occurring in the Solar System but not understood. We will use the unique capability of Warm Spitzer to observe 700 NEOs. We will measure the size distribution of this population to understand fundamental physical processes that occur among the small bodies of our Solar System. We will measure the fraction of NEOs likely to be dead comets, with implications for the flux of organic material onto the Earth. We will measure the albedo distribution of NEOs, which indicates the compositional diversity among these small bodies. We will study properties of individual NEOs, including their surface properties and potentially their densities, and detailed properties of a subset of well-characterized objects. Our expert team and our previous experience in this field will allow us to complete a comprehensive study of the origin and evolution of the NEO population. Our work is nothing less than an exploration of the history of near-Earth space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716
JournalBulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - May-2009
Event 214th Meeting - American Astronomical Society - Pasadena, California, United States
Duration: 7-Jun-200911-Jun-2009


214th Meeting - American Astronomical Society


Pasadena, California, United States

Event: Conference

ID: 20904380