The objective of this project is to fund the activities of our group for the next four years related to our participation in the OSORIS-REx mission, our research in the mineralogical characterization of primitive asteroids collisional families and populations in the Solar System, and our research on near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) that may be the target of future space missions or that are potentially hazardous (PHAs). OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission to be launched in 2016 that will visit the asteroid Bennu. It will completely characterize Bennu during 2018-2019, and took a sample of material from the surface that will bring to Earth for detailed study in 2023. Bennu is the primitive NEA more accessible and is also one of the PHAs most likely to collide with Earth. We participate in OSIRIS-REx since 2011.
We will produce the color maps with images of the cameras OCAMS, we will make OCAMS in-flight calibration and participate in the selection of the sampling site. The maps will be made with images taken in 4 filters that allow, for example, to study the geographical distribution of the absorption at 700 nm (filter w) produced by hydrated minerals, and help to select the sampling-site. The presence of hydrated minerals is essential to assess the abundance of water. We receive training in the use of image processing software for space missions ISIS.
Testing and validation of the software will be done using the recently calibrated images of Eros and Mathilde asteroids obtained by the NEAR-Shoemaker mission. This images will also produce new scientific results. We continue to work on the physical characterization of primitive asteroids.
This is necessary to support, enhance and put into context the OSIRIS-REx science. These are the most primitive asteroids in the solar system. It is well established that they are the parents of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, the meteorites with the most primitive known composition. It is critical to characterize the surface properties (spectral and thermal) of the primitive asteroids collisional families in the main belt asteroids, the population of primitive asteroid in the external part of the main belt, and of the activated asteroids and MBCs (Main Belt Comets) populations.
We will continue with our spectroscopic survey of primitive asteroids (PRIMASS, Primitive Asteroid Spectroscopic Survey) based on spectroscopy in the visible and near infrared using telescopes mainly of the ORM, and with our work on properties such as diameter and albedo using data from the WISE Space Telescope and spectroscopy in N band done with Spitzer and the GTC.
We are compiling a photometric catalog of over 45,000 asteroids observed in the infrared by the survey VHS VISTA and we will also incorporate to the mineralogical analysis spectrophotometric and spectroscopic data in the visible that will provide the survey J-PLUS (Observatorio de Javalambre) and the GAIA mission in the next 4 years.
OSIRIS is a camera and intermediate spectrograph in operation in the GTC telescope. OSIRIS has various observation modes: direct image, wide slit and multi-slit, which can be combined with charge shuffling and tunable filters. It includes a focal plane mask loader for multi-object spectroscopy.