John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Thesis Proposal by Rachel Roberts on April 15th

Space Studies master’s student, Rachel Roberts, will give her thesis proposal presentation as follows.  Please mark your calendars.

When:  Wednesday, April 16th at 3:30 p.m.

Where:  Ryan Hall, Room 111 (also available via Connect-Pro)

Title: “Mineralogy of Select Gefion Asteroid Family Members”

Abstract: The motivation behind this research is to determine the composition of a subset of Gefion family asteroids. This will add to the list of Gefion family members that have already been classified. The goal is to test this family as a plausible or probable main belt source of L-chondrites.

The L-chondrites are a subset of ordinary chondrites of which are the most common meteorite falls with the L-chondrites comprising of about 35% of meteorite falls.  Fossil L-chondrites have also been identified in Ordovician age limestone (about 480Myr) and many L-chondrites have evidence of shock which indicates a breakup event creating an asteroid family. Since these chondrites are so common, finding the main belt source has been sought after for a long time.

The Gefion dynamical asteroid family is located close to the 5:2 Kirkwood gap (at 2.823 AU) which can deliver meteoroids to Earth. This family has about 100 core members and an additional 700 or more potential members identified via the application of the Hierarchical Clustering Method to the proper elements of main belt asteroids.  Identifying the parent source of the L-chondrites can provide insight into the portion of the early solar nebula where the asteroids formed.

This study makes use of telescopic observations to determine the composition of several Gefion family members to see if these have similarity to the L-chondrites. Observations will be taken from NASA’s IRTF telescope on Mauna Kea.