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Paul A. Abell

2006 Research Report

As a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Abell focuses on research investigating near-Earth object compositions and their physical characteristics. He has been successful in obtaining telescope time at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, with an average of 4 to 6 nights each year. Much of his recent focus has been researching near-Earth binary objects and comet-asteroid transition objects. His collaboration with scientists at PSI and NASA has provided great insight into the possible internal structures of these objects, their possible parent bodies, and their meteorite analogues.

Abell continues to support the Hayabusa spacecraft mission to NEA (and PHA) (25143) Itokawa. The spacecraft is operated by JAXA/ISAS, and is scheduled to return to Earth in June 2010. Abell was one of the investigators on the near-infrared spectrometer (NIRS) instrument, which obtained over 100,000 spectra of asteroid Itokawa. He has been helping with the calibration of this data set and has been recently awarded a grant to help transfer the final calibrated spacecraft data into the NASA Planetary Data System. Abell will be working with Japanese colleagues on this important data set and helping with these tasks throughout 2007.

Abell is also involved in a research project that is examining the feasibility of sending robotic and/or crewed missions to near-Earth objects in the near future with intent of obtaining large amounts of sample and returning it to Earth for detailed scientific study. These types of missions would be useful not only for scientific discovery, but also may have practical applications for planetary defence and resource utilization.


Abell, P. A., M. J. Gaffey, and P. S. Hardersen (2006) Compositions of binary near-Earth objects: Implications for their internal structure and hazard potential. Invited Whitepaper for NASA Near-Earth Object Workshop, Vail, Colorado.

Abe, M., Y. Takagi, K. Kitazato, T. Hiroi, S. Abe, F. Vilas, B. E. Clark, P. A. Abell, S. M. Lederer, K. S. Jarvis, T. Nimura, Y. Ueda, and A. Fujiwara (2006) Near-infrared spectral results of the Hayabusa mission at asteroid Itokawa. Science, 312, 1334-1338.

Hardersen, P. S., M. J. Gaffey, E. A. Cloutis, P. A. Abell, and V. Reddy (2006) Near-infrared spectral observations and interpretations for S-asteroids 138 Tolosa, 306 Unitas, 346 Hermentaria, and 480 Hansa. Icarus, 181, 94-106.


Abell, P.A., D. W. Mittlefehdlt, and M. J. Gaffey (2006). Characterization of asteroidal basalts through reflectance spectroscopy and implications for the Dawn mission. METSOC 69, Abs. 41.5367.

Abell, P. A., F. Vilas, V. Reddy, M. J. Gaffey, and K. S. Jarvis (2006). Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy of potentially hazardous asteroid (68950) 2002 QF15. DPS 38, Abs. 59.04.

Abell, P. A., F. Vilas, M. J. Gaffey, and K. S, Jarvis (2006). Is the composition of asteroid (25143) Itokawa really a good analogue to the LL-chondrite meteorites? 2nd Hayabusa Symposium, Tokyo, Japan.

Abell, P. A., M. J. Gaffey, P. S. Hardersen, V. Reddy, and S. Kumar (2006). Compositions of binary near-Earth objects: Implications for their internal structure. Workshop on Spacecraft Reconnaissance of Comet and Asteroid Interiors, Santa Cruz, CA.

Abell, P. A., F. Vilas, K. S. Jarvis, M. J. Gaffey, and M. S. Kelley (2006). Mineralogical composition of (25143) Itokawa 1998 SF36 from visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy: Evidence for partial melting. LPSC 37, Abs. 1513.

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