Small Bodies

Small Bodies Faculty

Erik Asphaug

Erik Asphaug

Professor

William Boynton

Professor

Uwe Fink

Professor Emeritus

Walter Harris

Associate Professor

Ellen Howell

Senior Research Scientist

Dante Lauretta

Professor, Principal Investigator, OSIRIS-REx

Renu Malhotra

Regents' Professor, Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor

Robert (Bob) McMillan

Associate Research Scientist

Michael Nolan

Senior Research Scientist

Vishnu Reddy

Associate Professor

Timothy Swindle

Director, Department Head

Tom Zega

Associate Professor

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

Nathanial Hendler

PTYS Graduate Student

Carl Hergenrother

Associate Staff Scientist, OSIRIS-REx

Theodore Kareta

PTYS Graduate Student

Steve Larson

Senior Staff Scientist

Cassandra Lejoly

PTYS Graduate Student

Allison McGraw

PTYS Graduate Student

John Noonan

PTYS Graduate Student

Stephen Schwartz

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Benjamin Sharkey

PTYS Graduate Student

Lindsay Slick

PTYS Graduate Student

Alessondra "Sondy" Springmann

PTYS Graduate Student

Harry Tang

PTYS Graduate Student

LPL has long been a leader in researching 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, was launched in 2016, arrived at asteroid Bennu in 2018, and will being its return to Earth in 2021.

  • Several groups active in meteorite research, led by professors Dante Lauretta, Tim Swindle, and Tom Zega.

  • Research into the orbital evolution of the main asteroid belt and the Kuiper Belt, led by Regents' Professor Renu Malhotra.

  • LPL also has a long history of comet research, which continues with new and ongoing studies by Associate Professor Walter Harris and Professor Emeritus Uwe Fink.