Abstract

Primitive asteroids have remained mostly unprocessed since their formation, and the study of these populations has implications about the conditions of the early solar system and the evolution of the asteroid belt. This spectroscopic study of inner main-belt (IMB) primitive asteroids addresses three central objectives: 1) determine the origin and composition of objects in the near-Earth object population, particularly spacecraft targets; 2) test theories of how processes such as space weathering and aqueous alteration affect surface properties of small, low-albedo bodies; and 3) explore how primitive objects in the background population (i.e., asteroids not belonging to dynamical families) relate to each other and their implications for the evolution of the asteroid belt. In this work, I use the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo to obtain near-infrared (NIR; 0.7 to 2.5 microns) spectra of objects from three families and the background population. I compare the sample spectra with the published spectra of near-Earth objects and dynamical studies to test arguments for origin. I compare the VNIR spectra with laboratory spectra of meteorites to constrain the asteroid compositions. I test for space-weathering effects by comparing the spectra of the younger families with the older, more-weathered families. I look for trends between the spectra of objects in the background family and their physical and orbital properties to uncover information about this primordial population at the time of formation and throughout its evolution. Chapter 3 describes the NIR characterization of the Klio family. Chapter 4 describes the NIR characterization of the Chaldaea family and its relationship to the Klio family. In Chapter 5, I characterize the Sulamitis family and compare with the Polana family. Finally, in Chapter 6 I characterize the primitive background population and compare the background objects with the families at similar locations.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2021

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Campins, Humberto

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Physics

Degree Program

Physics; Planetary Sciences

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008440

Language

English

Release Date

May 2021

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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