DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 24. Asteroid Physical Studies II
Oral, Chairs: A. Cheng and L. Benner, Thursday, September 4, 2003, 1:30-3:00pm, DeAnza III

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[24.08] What Constitute Necessary and Sufficient Spectral Data for Asteroid Compositional Studies and What do We Learn from Them?

F. Vilas (NASA Johnson Space Center)

The origin and evolution of asteroids throughout the Solar System are being studied through their surface spectral reflectance properties. In recent years, increasing improvements in both visible and infrared detector technology and instrument development have allowed us to sample fainter targets with greater spectral resolution and range. A large volume of spectra has already been obtained, and asteroid research can expect to increase in the near future. These data will address problems as esoteric as the origin of primitive materials in the outer Solar System, to questions about the physical characteristics of near-Earth asteroids perceived to be a threat to humankind. Multiple observers using multiple instruments attached to multiple telescopes with multiple observing approaches and multiple analysis techniques result in a multitude of data sets varying in quality which are applied to multiple problems. With dwindling resources, we need to optimize our scientific methodology. I will present here issues in asteroid science (such as but not limited to - adequate signal-to-noise ratio, accuracy of determining spectral feature characteristics) that drive me nuts. We need to establish rigorous criteria by which we can extract meaningful information.

This research was not supported by anyone.

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