Dr. Hardersen Awarded Grant to Study Basaltic Asteroids
Dr. Paul Hardersen has been awarded a 3-year, $276,000 NASA Planetary Astronomy Program research grant to study basaltic asteroids in the main asteroid belt. Asteroids, as they are the most primitive material from solar system formation ~4.5 billion years ago, inform us about the early physical and chemical conditions in the solar system. This work, which will take advantage of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, has two primary goals. The first goal is to verify the basaltic nature of V-type asteroids around Asteroid (4) Vesta as defined by the NASA Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. The second goal is to hunt for basaltic asteroids in the outer main belt. Result from both efforts will help asteroid and planetary scientists to better understand the collisional and heating environment in the early solar system.