Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar for 2019-11-18

Series: Planetary and exoplanetary Astronomy Lunch Seminar
Date: Monday 18-Nov-2019
Time: 11:15-12:15
Location: ATL 1250
Speaker: Tilak Hewagama (UMD/GSFC)
Title: Chasing an Oort Cloud Comet and Instruments for Planetary Science

Primitive Object Volatile Explorer (PrOVE) is a SmallSat mission concept to study the surface morphology and volatile inventory of an Oort cloud comet in its first perihelion passage phase when volatile activity is near peak. SmallSat infrastructure imposes limits on propulsion systems, which are compounded by sensitivity to the spacecraft disposal state from the launch platform and potential launch delays. We propose circumventing launch platform complications by using waypoints in space to park a deep space SmallSat while awaiting the opportunity to enter a trajectory to flyby a suitable target. Two low risk instruments are baselined: a mutlispectral camera to characterize non-thermal fluorescence from coma volatiles (H2O, CO2, CO, and organics) and nucleus thermal emission; a high spatial broadband imaging camera. The ESA Comet Interceptor is an implementation of a conventional spacecraft in an F-Class mission.

In partnerships with GSFC, UMD researchers are involved in developing instruments that span the UV through THz spectral regions. We will discuss some of these optical instruments which include remote sensing spectrometers and radiometers for pushbroom orbiting spacecraft, and landed vibrational instruments such as Raman and infrared reflectance spectrometers. Science goals span physics, chemistry, and dynamics of atmospheres; surface morphology, mineralogy, and thermal inertia; exploration of macromolecules of interest in astrobiology; and setting stage for lunar In Situ Resource Utilization. Science targets include Earth, Solar System planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.

For further information contact PALS coordinator Dr. Lori Feaga at or (301)-405-1383.


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

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