- How to Build an Asteroid11 Sep, 2020
- A Holistic Approach to Understanding Asteroids: Laboratory Experiments, Theoretical Models, & Radar Observations 11 Sep, 2020
- Sharing the Connection: Arecibo’s Planetary Radar & NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission to Bennu10 Sep, 2020
- Analyzing Gravitational Fields Around Small Bodies in Support of Future Spacecraft Missions09 Sep, 2020
- Broken Cable Damages Arecibo Observatory11 Aug, 2020
- Open Position: Research Intern06 Aug, 2020
- Recorded Session: Arecibo Observatory Virtual Town Hall30 Jul, 2020
- The Arecibo Observatory congratulates Dr. Martha P. Haynes, recipient of the Janksy Lectureship 2020! 23 Jul, 2020
- AO Adapts: Continued Workshops, Training, and Education06 Jul, 2020
- Annoucing the Arecibo Observatory Town Hall01 Jul, 2020
- AO Features: Former AO Postdoctoral Researcher Kristen Jones30 Jun, 2020
- New AO Lidar Observations of Ca+ in the Mesosphere and Thermosphere29 Jun, 2020
- Breaking Assumptions on the Excitation Temperatures in Molecular Clouds29 Jun, 2020
- Modifying the Earth’s Ionosphere from Arecibo29 Jun, 2020
- AO radar measurements of Jupiter’s Moons29 Jun, 2020
- A New Approach for Understanding the Occurrence Rate of MSTIDs in the Caribbean Nighttime Ionosphere29 Jun, 2020
Byadmin09 September 2020 Planetary
Understanding how the gravitational field around a comet or asteroid could affect an orbiting spacecraft is extremely important for the exploration of those objects.
In a recent publication of the Planetary and Space Science journal, AO scientist Dr. Flaviane Venditti and her team tested a new mapping technique to identify the orbits around comets and asteroids that are least affected by the objects’ gravity.
“Knowing which orbits would generate the least perturbation on a spacecraft could minimize the need for station-keeping maneuvers, lowering the cost and simplifying the mission logistics,” Dr. Venditti explained.
“Knowing which orbits would generate the least perturbation on a spacecraft could minimize the need for station-keeping maneuvers, lowering the cost and simplifying the mission logistics,” - Dr. Flaviane Venditti, Planetary Scientist at Arecibo Observatory
Importantly, the team developed these orbital maps using more realistic shapes for the asteroids and comets, rather than assuming they were spherical. Their analysis also assessed how easily a particle’s (or a spacecraft’s) orbit around the targets could be changed from its original path.
“The planetary radar observations we conduct with the Arecibo Observatory are highly complementary to these dynamical studies,” expressed Dr. Venditti. “One of the main goals of planetary radar is to determine the physical properties of asteroids, like their shapes and sizes. These properties are needed before we can computationally model the gravitational environment of those objects.”
Dr. Venditti concluded, “Thus, planetary radar observations and theoretical dynamical studies build on one another and are both critical for assisting with space exploration and mission planning.”
The Arecibo Planetary Radar Program is funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by the University of Central Florida (UCF) in partnership with Universidad Ana G. Mendez - Universidad Metropolitana and Yang Enterprises Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist
Head of Planetary Radar team
Keywords: arecibo, observatory, planetary, orbits, venditti, asteroid, gravitational, field, exploration