Low delta-V near-Earth asteroids: A survey of suitable targets for space missions⋆
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00040
Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy
2 LESIA – Observatoire de Paris, CNRS/UPMC (Paris 6)/Univ. Paris Diderot (Paris 7), 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
3 Università di Roma Tor Vergata, via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
4 SpaceDyS, via Mario Giuntini 63, 56023 Cascina, Pisa, Italy
5 Université Paris Diderot – Sorbonne Paris Cité, 4 rue Elsa Morante, 75205 Paris, France
6 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Teramo, via Mentore Maggini snd, 64100 Teramo, Italy
7 Deimos Space, Ronda de Poniente 19, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain
8 INAF – IAPS, via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Rome, Italy
9 ESA – NEOCC, ESRIN, via Galileo Galilei 64, 00044 Frascati, Rome, Italy
10 IFAC – CNR, via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy
11 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Accepted: 28 June 2014
Context. In the past decades near-Earth objects (NEOs) have become very important targets to study, since they can give us clues to the formation, evolution, and composition of the solar system. In addition, they may represent either a threat to humankind or a repository of extraterrestrial resources for suitable space-borne missions. Within this framework, the choice of next-generation mission targets and the characterisation of a potential threat to our planet deserve special attention.
Aims. To date, only a small part of the 11 000 discovered NEOs have been physically characterised. From ground- and space-based observations, one can determine some basic physical properties of these objects using visible and infrared spectroscopy.
Methods. We present data for 13 objects observed with different telescopes around the world (NASA-IRTF, ESO-NTT, TNG) in the 0.4−2.5 μm spectral range, within the NEOSURFACE survey. Objects are chosen from among the more accessible for a rendez-vous mission. All of them are characterised by a delta-V (the change in velocity needed for transferring a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit to a rendez-vous with NEOs) lower than 10.5 km s-1, well below the solar system escape velocity (12.3 km s-1).
Results. We taxonomically classify 9 of these objects for the first time. Eleven objects belong to the S-complex taxonomy, and the other 2 belong to the C-complex. We constrain the surface composition of these objects by comparing their spectra with meteorites from the RELAB database. We also compute olivine and pyroxene mineralogy for asteroids with clear evidence of pyroxene bands. Mineralogy confirms the similarity with the already found H, L, or LL ordinary chondrite analogues.
Key words: astrobiology / methods: data analysis / techniques: spectroscopic / minor planets, asteroids: general
© ESO, 2014