Found 3 talks width keyword Moon

Thursday October 10, 2019
Prof. Paul Abell


A major goal for NASA's human spaceflight program is to send astronauts to the Moon and beyond in the coming decades. The first missions would focus on exploration of the Moon with the intent of developing the technologies and capabilities to then proceed on to Mars.  

However, there are many objects that show promise as future destinations beyond the Moon, which do not require the extensive mission capabilities or durations required for Mars exploration. These objects are known as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and would undoubtedly provide a great deal of technical and engineering data on spacecraft operations for future human space exploration and serve as stepping stones for NASA’s efforts to reach Mars.  A subset of these objects has been identified within the ongoing investigation of the NASA Near-Earth Object Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study (NHATS).

Information obtained from a human investigation of a NEO, together with ground-based observations and prior spacecraft investigations of asteroids and comets (e.g., Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx), will provide a real measure of ground truth to data obtained from terrestrial meteorite collections.  In addition, robotic precursor and human exploration missions to NEOs would allow NASA and its international partners to gain operational experience in performing complex tasks (e.g., sample collection, deployment of payloads, retrieval of payloads, etc.) with crew, robots, and spacecraft under microgravity conditions at or near the surface of a small body.  This would provide an important synergy between the worldwide Science and Exploration communities, which will be crucial for development of future international deep space exploration architectures and has potential benefits for future exploration of destinations beyond the Earth-Moon system (e.g., Mars).

Thursday September 23, 2010
Dr. Javier Licandro
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain


In this talk we present spectroscopy of asteroids 24 Themis and 65 Cybele in the 2-4 μ region obtained with the NASA 3.5m IRTF telescope. Their spectra are very similar, and present the typical water ice band at 3.1 μ and additional absorption bands in the 3.2-3.4 μ region that can be attributed to solid organics, showing that there is a small amount of water ice and solid organics widely distributed across their surface. Spectra in the 6-25 μ region obtained with SPITZER of 65 Cybele also show that its surface is covered by a fine anhydrous silicate grains mantle as other outer belt asteroids like the Trojans are. This dust mantle, with a small amount of water ice and complex organic solids, is similar to comet surface where non-equilibrium phases coexist. The presence of water-ice and anhydrous silicates is indicative that hydration did not happened or is incomplete, suggesting that the temperatures were always sufficiently low. This is the first detection of water ice and and solid organics in the surface of an asteroid and suggest that these materials are much more abundant than expected in the surface of asteroids with semi-major axis a > 3 AU. The cosmogonical and astrobiological relevance of this discovery will be discussed.

Friday June 12, 2009
Dr. Enric Pallé Bago
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain


Of the 342 planets discovered so far orbiting other stars, 58 'transit' the stellar disk, meaning that they can be detected by a periodic decrease in the starlight flux. The light from the star passes through the atmosphere of the planet, and in a few cases the basic atmospheric composition of the planet can be estimated. As we get closer to finding analogues of Earth, an important consideration toward the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres is what the transmission spectrum of our planet looks like. Here we report the optical and near-infrared transmission spectrum of the Earth, obtained during a lunar eclipse. Some biologically relevant atmospheric features that are weak in the reflected spectrum (such as ozone, molecular oxygen, water, carbon dioxide and methane) are much stronger in the transmission spectrum, and indeed stronger than predicted by modeling. We also find the fingerprints of the Earth's ionosphere and of the major atmospheric constituent, diatomic nitrogen (N2), which are missing in the reflected spectrum. Our results indicate that the technique of transit spectroscopy of rocky planets may be a very powerful tool for exoplanet atmospheric characterization, and is likely to provide the first detection of a habitable exobiosphere.

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