Small Bodies

Additional personnel:

LPL has long been a leader in research into the small bodies of the solar system. Active research includes:

  • Two world-renowned asteroid survey programs: Spacewatch, directed by Dr. Robert McMillan, claims a number of firsts in hunting for small bodies, many related to being the first to use CCD-scanning routinely; and Catalina Sky Survey, under the direction of Eric Christensen, has led the world in asteroid discoveries each year since 2005. Dr. McMillan has also been part of the Near-Earth Object portion of the WISE spacecraft mission.
  • The first American asteroid sample-return mission. OSIRIS-REx, with Professor Dante Lauretta as the Principal Investigator, is scheduled for launch in 2016.
  • Several groups active in meteorite research, led by professors Lauretta, Tim Swindle, and Tom Zega.
  • Research into the orbital evolution of the Main Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt in the groups of professor Renu Malhotra.
  • LPL also has a long tradition of research into comets, which continues with research by Associate Professor Walter Harris and Professor Emeritus Uwe Fink.

Catalina Sky Survey
WEBSITE
Catalina Sky Survey

Spacewatch
WEBSITE
Spacewatch

OSIRIS-REx
WEBSITE
OSIRIS-REx