AstroFIt 2 – COFUND fellow since June 1, 2017
INAF Research Centre: Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma
Email: davide.perna at inaf.it
In the Media:
- Spazio, ultima miniera (Radio 3 Scienza, 5/7/2018)
- Ryugu in 3D firmato Brian May (Media INAF, 3/8/2018)
- Perseidi: Luna assente e spettacolo assicurato (Media INAF, 9/8/2018)
- Futuro24: caccia alla cometa visibile a occhio nudo (Rai News 24, 7/12/2018)
- Dalle origini del sistema solare alle origini della vita: i corpi minori primitivi
- The “small” NEA population: results of a spectroscopic survey in the framework of the NEOShield-2 project
- Compositional properties of the “small” near-Earth asteroids: results from the NEOShield-2 project
- The intriguing Tina asteroid family: a compositional investigation
- The “Near-Earth Space Trekker” multi-asteroid mission concept
- Photometric observations of nine Transneptunian objects and Centaurs (MNRAS, 13/11/2017)
- Rotationally resolved spectroscopy of Jupiter Trojans (624) Hektor and (911) Agamemnon (MNRAS, 29/12/2017)
- Small D-type asteroids in the NEO population: new targets for space missions (MNRAS, 27/2/2018)
- Olivine-rich asteroids in the near-Earth space (MNRAS, 15/3/2018)
- A spectroscopic survey of the small near-Earth asteroid population: Peculiar taxonomic distribution and phase reddening (Planetary and Space Science, 17/3/2018)
- Photometric survey of 67 near-Earth objects (Astronomy & Astrophysics, 29/5/2018)
- Basaltic material in the main belt: a tale of two (or more) parent bodies? (MNRAS, 11/6/2018)
- Statistical analysis of the spectral properties of V-type asteroids: A review on what we known and what is still missing (Planetary and Space Science, 1/12/2018)
- 523676 (2013 UL10): the first active red centaur (Astronomy & Astrophysics, 4/12/2018)
- Long-term photometric monitoring of the dwarf planet (136472) Makemake (Astronomy & Astrophysics, 9/4/2019)
- The surface composition of asteroid 162173 Ryugu from Hayabusa2 near-infrared spectroscopy (Science, 19/4/2019)
- Physical characterization of 2009 WN25: exploring the link with November i-Draconids meteor shower (MNRAS, 23/5/2019)
Project title: ExoBio – Exogenous contributors of pre-Biotic material to the early Earth
The “primitive” small bodies (carbonaceous asteroids, Centaurs, comets, trans-Neptunian objects) have formed in the water- and organic-rich outer regions of the protoplanetary disk. They carry information on a number of evolutionary processes which have taken place since the solar system formation, and, in particular, they are considered as the most probable source of terrestrial prebiotic material. The smallest of these small bodies could deposit such material on the early Earth in a more efficient way, without massive water vaporization and destruction of organic molecules as in the case of larger impacts.
Within my research project, I will characterize for the first time ever (via visible and NIR spectroscopy I’m currently acquiring as PI of a 30-night programme at ESO-NTT) the surface composition of the “small” (< 300 m) near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), in order to better quantify how much of carbonaceous material these objects could deliver to the Earth.
Moreover, I will analyse the spectra of primitive NEAs Ryugu and Bennu acquired by JAXA Hayabusa 2 and NASA OSIRIS-REx sample return space missions in 2018-2020. I will study in particular the absorption bands diagnostic of hydrated silicates and organics, to constrain the geological context from which the samples will be collected, and to help assessing if the organic compounds contained therein could lead to the formation of life on Earth.
Finally, I will investigate the cometary activity far from the Sun, by means of large observational programmes devoted to the photometric study of the surface and coma of Centaurs, a transitional population between the trans-Neptunian objects and the inner solar system. Noteworthy, the impact of Centaur-like objects may have significantly contributed to the delivery of noble gases and amino-acids to the early Earth. My analyses will help constrain the composition of these bodies and to reveal the source and underlying mechanism driving their activity.