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Survey Simulations of a New Near-Earth Asteroid Detection System

Mainzer, A. and Grav, T. and Bauer, J. and Conrow, T. and Cutri, R. M. and Dailey, J. and Fowler, J. and Giorgini, J. and Jarrett, T. and Masiero, J. and Spahr, T. and Statler, T. and Wright, E. L. (2015) Survey Simulations of a New Near-Earth Asteroid Detection System. Astronomical Journal, 149 (5). Art. No. 172. ISSN 0004-6256.

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We have carried out simulations to predict the performance of a new space-based telescopic survey operating at thermal infrared wavelengths that seeks to discover and characterize a large fraction of the potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population. Two potential architectures for the survey were considered: one located at the Earth–Sun L1 Lagrange point, and one in a Venus-trailing orbit. A sample cadence was formulated and tested, allowing for the self-follow-up necessary for objects discovered in the daytime sky on Earth. Synthetic populations of NEAs with sizes as small as 140 m in effective spherical diameter were simulated using recent determinations of their physical and orbital properties. Estimates of the instrumental sensitivity, integration times, and slew speeds were included for both architectures assuming the properties of newly developed large-format 10 μm HgCdTe detector arrays capable of operating at ~35 K. Our simulation included the creation of a preliminary version of a moving object processing pipeline suitable for operating on the trial cadence. We tested this pipeline on a simulated sky populated with astrophysical sources such as stars and galaxies extrapolated from Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Explorer data, the catalog of known minor planets (including Main Belt asteroids, comets, Jovian Trojans, planets, etc.), and the synthetic NEA model. Trial orbits were computed for simulated position-time pairs extracted from the synthetic surveys to verify that the tested cadence would result in orbits suitable for recovering objects at a later time. Our results indicate that the Earth–Sun L1 and Venus-trailing surveys achieve similar levels of integral completeness for potentially hazardous asteroids larger than 140 m; placing the telescope in an interior orbit does not yield an improvement in discovery rates. This work serves as a necessary first step for the detailed planning of a next-generation NEA survey.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Grav, T.0000-0002-3379-0534
Cutri, R. M.0000-0002-0077-2305
Masiero, J.0000-0003-2638-720X
Wright, E. L.0000-0001-5058-1593
Additional Information:© 2015 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 August 5; accepted 2015 January 2; published 2015 April 28. This publication makes use of data products from the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, and NEOWISE, which is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. WISE and NEOWISE are funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the referee, Dr. Alan Harris of Pasadena, for helpful suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This work is based [in part] on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:methods: numerical; minor planets, asteroids: general; surveys; techniques: image processing; telescopes
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150603-105410247
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Official Citation:Survey Simulations of a New Near-Earth Asteroid Detection System A. Mainzer et al. 2015 The Astronomical Journal 149 172
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57978
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Jun 2015 19:13
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:31

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