DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 29. Kuiper Belt
Plenary, Organizer: D. Cruikshank, Friday, September 5, 2003, 8:30-10:00am, Steinbeck

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[29.01] The Composition of Kuiper Belt Objects

M.E. Brown (Caltech)

The state of knowledge about the surface of Kuiper belt objects is similar to that of that of asteroids approximately 30 years ago. The community is in the slow processes of acquiring optical and infrared spectra of Kuiper belt objects in the hopes of learning compositions and compositional differences, perhaps leading to breakthroughs such as that of the discovery of the different asteroid spectral classes and their locations in the solar system. As it was with the asteroids, the earliest indications of potentially interesting surface compositions in the Kuiper belt comes from optical colors, which are the easiest piece of data to obtain. These colors have shown clearly that there are differing classes of surface compositions in the Kuiper belt, but the colors unfortunately provide no unique information on what the surface compositions are. I will discuss review current work on Kuiper belt colors and spectra and point to the gains that we hope to achieve in the near future.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.