AO Colloquium: Dr. Alain Herique

Planetary Science

Planetary Science AO Colloquium: Dr. Alain Herique

On January 28th, the AO Colloquium Series featured Dr. Alain Herique of the Institut de Planetologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) University Grenoble Alpes in France.

Dr. Herique’s research focuses on understanding the internal structure of comets and asteroids using spacecraft radar systems. Such measurements help us to better understand the history of the small bodies since their accretion in the early Solar System.

Specifically, he emphasizes the need to use radar to measure the regolith properties on the surface, and to use bistatic radar to probe the deep interiors. This measurement was successfully done at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using the CONSERT instrument on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta Mission, which was co-supervised by Dr. Herique.

During the AO colloquium, Dr. Herique discussed the future of such space-based measurements. He focused on the expected scientific return of tomography measurements that will be made by ESA’s Hera mission to the asteroid Didymos and its small moon. Hera will provide follow-up measurements of the targets after NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission intentionally impacts the moonlet as a planetary defense technology demonstration.

“Dr. Herique was invited to discuss asteroid radar tomography, which intersects with our own studies of the near-surface properties of asteroids using Arecibo,” said Dr. Dylan Hickson, postdoctoral researcher at AO. “We made a lot of progress discussing how AO could work with future spacecraft to complete bistatic tomography experiments of asteroids.”

“We made a lot of progress discussing how AO could work with future spacecraft to complete bistatic tomography experiments of asteroids.” - Dr. Dylan Hickson, Postdoctoral Researcher at AO.

Dr. Herique agreed. "It is a pleasure to collaborate with the group at Arecibo. We have plenty of joint fields of interest: small bodies’ physical properties; dielectric lab measurements and modeling to estimate composition and porosity; propagation and radar backscattering modeling; and, of course, radar techniques and processing." He added, “It's all a matter for discussion and collaboration”.

Watch the interview with Dr. Alain Herique


Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist Contact:

Arecibo Media Contact
Ricardo Correa
Universidad Ana G. Mendez (UAGM)
787-878-2612 ext. 615

Colloquium Coordinator
Dr. Jens Lautenbach
Arecibo Observatory

Keywords: arecibo, observatory,Herique, colloquium, dart, esa, solar, system, rosetta, mission, Grenoble, France, Churyumov, Gerasimenko