Origin of two primitive NEAs: (3200) Phaethon and 1998 RQ36

Dr. Julia de León


Understanding the composition and the nature of any asteroid approaching the Earth, and consequently potentially hazardous, is a matter of general interest, both scientific and practical. The potentially hazardous asteroid 1999 RQ36 is especially accessible to spacecraft and is the primary target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx sample return mission. Spectra of this asteroid point to the most primitive meteorites (CIs and CMs) as the most likely analogs. Asteroid (3200) Phaethon is also particularly interesting. Together with 2005 UD and 2001 YB5, is one of the only 3 near-Earth asteroids with associated meteor showers, which mostly come from comets. There is evidence of the presence of hydrated minerals on its surface, usually associated with organic material. Both asteroids are classified as "B". B-type asteroids are found mostly in the middle and outer main belt and are believed to be primitive and volatile-rich. We combine dynamical and spectral information to identify the most likely main-belt origin of these two objects.