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How to Find Metal-rich Asteroids

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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Alan W. Harris, Line Drube (Submitted on 25 Mar 2014)

The metal content of asteroids is of great interest, not only for theories of their origins and the evolution of the solar system but, in the case of near-Earth objects (NEOs), also for impact mitigation planning and endeavors in the field of planetary resources. However, since the reflection spectra of metallic asteroids are largely featureless, it is difficult to identify them and relatively few are known. We show how data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)/NEOWISE thermal-infrared survey and similar surveys, fitted with a simple thermal model, can reveal objects likely to be metal rich. We provide a list of candidate metal-rich NEOs. Our results imply that future infrared surveys with the appropriate instrumentation could discover many more metal-rich asteroids, providing valuable data for assessment of the impact hazard and the potential of NEOs as reservoirs of vital materials for future interplanetary space activities and, eventually perhaps, for use on Earth.

Comments:11 pages, 2 figures, 1 table. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 282703 (NEOShield Project)

Subjects:Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Journal reference:2014, ApJ, 785, L4

DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/785/1/L4

Cite as:arXiv:1403.6346 [astro-ph.EP]

 (or arXiv:1403.6346v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Alan Harris [view email] 

[v1] Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:55:47 GMT (829kb)

 

 

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