Ice and organics

Dr. Javier Licandro

Abstract

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.

About the talk

Ice and organics
Dr. Javier Licandro
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain
Thursday September 23, 2010 - 0:00  (Aula)
en     en
For published article see J. Licandro et al.