- Leter from Dr. Julie Brisset (Principal Investigator of the Arecibo Observatory)13 Sep, 2022
- Arecibo Deputy Principal Scientist to Explore the Cosmos with the JWST02 Sep, 2022
- Letter from the Director22 Aug, 2022
- Piercing through the Clouds of Venus with Arecibo Radar17 Aug, 2022
- Summer greetings from the Facilities and Operations Team!17 Aug, 2022
- Arecibo Observatory at the Small Bodies Assessment Group12 Aug, 2022
- Meet the 2022 Arecibo Observatory REU students!11 Aug, 2022
- Meet Luis R. Rivera Gabriel, Research Intern in the Planetary Radar Group09 Aug, 2022
- Updates from the 2022 CEDAR Workshop in Austin, TX09 Aug, 2022
- Insights into the AAS Conference from AO Analyst Anna McGilvray08 Aug, 2022
- American Astronomical Society’s 240th Meeting: Plenary Lecture Building the Future of Radio Science with the Arecibo Observatory by Dr. Héctor Arce. 28 Jul, 2022
- TRENDS 202227 Jul, 2022
- Advancing IDEA in Planetary Science 27 Jul, 2022
- The Arecibo Observatory: An Engine for Science and Scientists in Puerto Rico and Beyond27 Jul, 2022
- Cryogenic Frontend work for the 12m telescope entering phase II21 Jul, 2022
- Remote Optical Facility Updates20 Jul, 2022
Byadmin09 September 2020 Planetary
Understanding how the gravitational field around a comet or asteroid could affect an orbiting spacecraft is extremely important for the exploration of those objects.
In a recent publication of the Planetary and Space Science journal, AO scientist Dr. Flaviane Venditti and her team tested a new mapping technique to identify the orbits around comets and asteroids that are least affected by the objects’ gravity.
“Knowing which orbits would generate the least perturbation on a spacecraft could minimize the need for station-keeping maneuvers, lowering the cost and simplifying the mission logistics,” Dr. Venditti explained.
“Knowing which orbits would generate the least perturbation on a spacecraft could minimize the need for station-keeping maneuvers, lowering the cost and simplifying the mission logistics,” - Dr. Flaviane Venditti, Planetary Scientist at Arecibo Observatory
Importantly, the team developed these orbital maps using more realistic shapes for the asteroids and comets, rather than assuming they were spherical. Their analysis also assessed how easily a particle’s (or a spacecraft’s) orbit around the targets could be changed from its original path.
“The planetary radar observations we conduct with the Arecibo Observatory are highly complementary to these dynamical studies,” expressed Dr. Venditti. “One of the main goals of planetary radar is to determine the physical properties of asteroids, like their shapes and sizes. These properties are needed before we can computationally model the gravitational environment of those objects.”
Dr. Venditti concluded, “Thus, planetary radar observations and theoretical dynamical studies build on one another and are both critical for assisting with space exploration and mission planning.”
The Arecibo Planetary Radar Program is funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by the University of Central Florida (UCF) in partnership with Universidad Ana G. Mendez - Universidad Metropolitana and Yang Enterprises Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist
Head of Planetary Radar team
Keywords: arecibo, observatory, planetary, orbits, venditti, asteroid, gravitational, field, exploration