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Past Research: Small Bodies


Here we investigate the surface composition of three large S-type asteroids, (3) Juno, (7) Iris, and (25) Phocaea, using their near-infrared spectra (0.7-2.55 μm) to identify the parent body of the H chondrites. We use a Bayesian inference model to confirm the meteorite analogs of the three asteroids. Based on our Bayes classifier we find the following analogs and probabilities: Juno is likely H chondrite (89%), Iris is likely LL chondrite (97.5%), and Phocaea is likely H chondrite (98.6%). While Phocaea has the highest probability of being an H chondrite, it is dynamically unlikely to deliver material to near-Earth space. While Juno has spectral properties similar to H chondrites, its family is unlikely to produce sizeable H-chondrite-type near-Earth objects (NEOs). If Juno is the primary source of H chondrite meteorites, it suggests that an additional source is needed to explain the H-chondrite-type NEOs.

Impacts due to near-Earth objects (NEOs) are responsible for causing some of the great mass extinctions on Earth. While nearly all NEOs of diameter > 1 km, capable of causing a global climatic disaster, have been discovered and have negligible chance of impacting in the near future, we are far from completion in our effort to detect and characterize smaller objects. In an effort to test our preparedness to respond to a potential NEO impact threat, we conducted a community-led global planetary defense exercise with support from the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office. 

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