Mineralogical characterization of potential targets for the ASTEX mission scenario

Vishnu Reddy, Andreas Nathues, Michael J. Gaffey, Sven Schaeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In-situ investigation of asteroids is the next logical step in understanding their exact surface mineralogy, petrology, elemental abundances, particle size distribution, internal structure, and collisional evolution. Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) provide us with ample opportunities for in-situ scientific exploration with lower Δv requirements and subsequently lower costs than their main belt counterparts. The ASTEX mission concept aims at surface characterization of two compositionally diverse NEAs, one with primitive and the other with a strong thermally evolved surface mineralogy. Here we present the first results of our ground-based characterization of potential ASTEX mission targets using the SpeX instrument on the NASA IRTF. Of the four potential targets we characterized, two (1991 JW and 1998 PA) have compositions similar to ordinary chondrite mineralogy. The other two targets (1994 CC and 1999 TA10) are thermally evolved objects with igneous formation histories. While 1994 CC is a triplet system and thus very challenging to orbit the V-type NEA, 1999 TA10 is the most interesting scientific ASTEX target identified so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-778
Number of pages7
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • In-situ characterization
  • Low Δv
  • Near Earth Asteroids
  • Spacecraft mission targets
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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