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The Distribution of Basaltic Asteroids in the Main Belt

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Jedicke (Univ of Hawaii)

Basaltic asteroids are thought to be fragments of crust from melted and then differentiated parent bodies. Their distribution in the Main Belt provides clues to the thermal alteration of proto-planetary material during the epoch of planet formation. Detailed laboratory studies of meteorites suggest that there must have been at least a hundred differentiated asteroids in the main belt but up until a few years ago only a single asteroid (Vesta) was known to have a basaltic crust. We now know of a handful of basaltic asteroids in the Main Belt but that still leaves a discrepancy between laboratory and remote measurements of 1-2 orders of magnitude in the number of these objects. I will present recent and ongoing work that attempts to address this and related questions. In particular, a recently completed spectroscopic survey of V-type asteroids (thought to have basaltic surfaces) has helped to constrain the distribution of basaltic asteroids in the Main Belt and has illuminated a number of issues that require further study.

I will also give a Pan-STARRS update.

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