Small Bodies

Other Researchers Working in Small Bodies

Saverio Cambioni

PTYS Graduate Student

Matthew Chojnacki

Associate Staff Scientist

Eric Christensen

Senior Staff Scientist

Jason Corliss

Senior Staff Scientist

Daniella DellaGiustina

Image Processing Lead Scientist, OSIRIS-REx, Senior Staff Scientist

Carl Hergenrother

Associate Staff Scientist, OSIRIS-REx

Theodore Kareta

PTYS Graduate Student

Steve Larson

Senior Staff Scientist

John Noonan

PTYS Graduate Student

Stephen Schwartz

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Benjamin Sharkey

PTYS Graduate Student

Alessondra "Sondy" Springmann

PTYS Graduate Student

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.