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Paul A. Abell

2009 Research Report

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, the Center Director's Office at NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Headquarters (Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Space Operations Mission Directorate, and Science Mission Directorate), the National Research Council, and the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA). He has been asked to provide direct input to associate administrators and center directors on the rationale for exploring near-Earth objects.

Abell continues to focus his research investigating near-Earth object compositions and their physical characteristics in between his efforts to help formulate alternative destinations and architectures for NASA long term vision. 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.

Papers:

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, L. Johnson, and E. Lu (2009). Scientific Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 44, 1825-1836.

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 (2009). Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle: A Planetary Defence Rationale. 1st International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defence Conference: Protecting the Earth from Asteroids, Grenada, Spain, April 27-30, 2009.

Abell, P. A., D. R. Adamo, T. D. Jones, D. J. Korsmeyer, and R. R. Landis (2009). Scientific Investigation of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Planetary Decadal 2011 Science White Paper.

Abercromby, K. J., P. A. Abell, and E. Barker (2009). Reflectance Spectra Comparison of Orbital Debris, Intact Spacecraft, and Intact Rocket Bodies in the GEO regime. 5th European Conference on Space Debris (ESA/ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany, March 30 - April 2, 2009.

Landis, R. R., P. A. Abell, D. J. Korsmeyer, T. D. Jones, and D. R. Adamo (2009). Piloted Operations at a Near-Earth Object. Acta Astronautica, 65, 1687-1697.

Jones, R. L., M. E. Brown, P. A. Abell, A. C. Becker, A. Harris, and Z. Ivezic (2009). Next Steps in Understanding the Outer Solar System. Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Science White Papers, #144.

Harris, A., P. A. Abell, L. A. M. Benner, C. R. Chapman, S. Chesley, Z. Ivezic, R. L. Jones, D. Morrison, S. J. Stuart, and D. E. Trilling (2009). Surveying the Inner Solar System. Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Science White Papers, #113.

Abstracts:

Abell, P. A. (2009). Human and Robotic Exploration of Near-Earth Objects. The First International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group Meeting, October 19-20, 2009, Shiodome, Japan.

Abell, P. A., Y. R. Fernández, C. M. Lisse, S. J. Bus, and D. G. Schleicher (2009) Rotationally Resolved Near-Infrared Spectral Observations of Comet 2P/Encke's Nucleus. DPS 41, Abs. 20.02.

Research Year: 
2009
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