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Paul A. Abell

2008 Research Report

As the first PSI contractor at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Abell continues to focus his research investigating near-Earth object compositions and their physical characteristics. He has been successful in obtaining telescope time at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, with an average of 4 to 6 nights each year. Most of his recent efforts have focused on near-Earth binary objects and comet-asteroid transition objects. His collaboration with scientists at PSI and NASA has provided great insight into the possible internal structures of these objects, their possible parent bodies, and their meteorite analogues. In addition, Abell's observational techniques have been used for characterizing Human made orbital debris, and he is involved with obtaining near-IR spectra on orbital debris for NASA's Orbital Debris Office.

Abell continues to support the Hayabusa spacecraft mission to near-Earth Asteroid (and also potentially hazardous asteroid) (25143) Itokawa. The spacecraft is operated by JAXA/ISAS, and is scheduled to return to Earth in June 2010. Abell was one of the investigators on the near-infrared spectrometer (NIRS) instrument, which obtained over 100,000 spectra of asteroid Itokawa. He has been helping with the transfer the final calibrated spacecraft data from the Japanese into the NASA Planetary Data System. Abell will be working with Japanese colleagues on this important data set and will be helping with these tasks in the near-future. In addition, Abell is helping to formulate the sample recovery procedures to be implemented once the sample container lands in Woomera, Australia in 2010.

Abell is continuing his involvement in a research project that is examining the feasibility of sending robotic and/or crewed missions to near-Earth objects in the near future with intent of obtaining large amounts of sample and returning it to Earth for detailed scientific study. These types of missions would be useful not only for scientific discovery, but also may have practical applications for planetary defence and resource utilization. There is much interest in this work and Abell has been asked to brief the Constellation Program Office at NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Headquarters (Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and Science Mission Directorate), the National Research Council, the Advanced Technolgy Working Group (ATWG), the Future in Space Operations (FISO) Forum, and the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA).

Papers:

Landis, R. R., P. A. Abell, D. J. Korsmeyer, T. D. Jones, and D. R. Adamo (2008). Piloted Operations at a Near-Earth Object (NEO). 59th International Astronautical Congress, September 29 - October 3, 2008, Glascow, Scotland, Conference Paper B3.5.4.

Weissman, P. R., M. D. Hicks, P. A Abell, Y. J. Choi, and S. C. Lowry (2008) Rosetta Target Asteroid 2867 Steins: An Unusual E-Type Asteroid. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 43, 905-914.

Kitazato, K., B. E. Clark, M. Abe, S. Abe, Y. Takagi, T. Hiroi, O. S. Barnouin-Jha, P. A. Abell, S. M. Lederer, and F. Vilas (2008). Near-Infrared Spectrophometry of Asteroid 25143 Itokawa from NIRS on the Hayabusa Spacecraft. Icarus, 194, 137-145.

Abstracts:

Abell, P. A., D. J. Korsmeyer, R. R. Landis, D. R. Adamo, T. D. Jones, D. Morrison, L. Lemke, A. Gonzales, R. Gershman, T. Sweetser, L. Johnson, and E. T. Lu (2008). Piloted Missions to Near-Earth Objects via the Crew Exploration Vehicle. The First International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group Meeting, January 13-16, 2008, Okinawa, Japan.

Abell, P. A., M. V. Sykes, P. Tricarico, and F. Vilas (2008). The Need for Observational Support of Spacecraft Missions to Primitive Bodies. The First International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group Meeting, January 13-16, 2008, Okinawa, Japan.

Abell, P. A., D. J. Korsmeyer, R. R. Landis, T. D. Jones, D. R. Adamo, D. Morrison, L. Lemke, A. Gonzales, R. Gershman, T. Sweetser, and L. Johnson (2008). Scientific Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2008, July 14-18, 2008, Baltimore, Maryland, Abs. 8325.

Abell, P. A., P. R. Weissman, M. D. Hicks, Y. J. Choi, and S. C. Lowry (2008) Rosetta Flyby Target Asteroid (2867) Steins: An Enstatite Achondrite Analogue. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 43, Abs. 5316.

Fernández, Y. R., P. A. Abell, C. M. Lisse, S. J. Bus, W. T. Reach, and H. Campins (2008) Spitzer and IRTF Observations of the Thermal Emission from Comet 2P/Encke. DPS 40, Abs. 16.04.

Reddy, V., M. J. Gaffey, P. A. Abell, S. Kumar, and S. K. Fieber-Beyer (2008) Faint, Fuzzy, and "Featureless" PHAs: Making the Most Out of Almost Nothing. LPSC 39, Abs. 1391.

Kitazato, K., M. Abe, B. E. Clark, S. Abe, Y. Takagi, T. Hiroi, P. A. Abell, S. M. Lederer, and F. Vilas (2008). The Effects of Space Weathering and Particle Size Variations on Itokawa from Hayabusa Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2008, July 14-18, 2008, Baltimore, Maryland, Abs. 8208.

Research Year: 
2008
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