Near-Earth Asteroids: Possible Sources from Reflectance Spectroscopy

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Science  12 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4709, pp. 160-163
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4709.160


Spectra of near-Earth asteroids were compared to spectra of selected asteroids, planets, and satellites to determine possible source regions. The diversity of reflectance spectra of the near-Earth asteroids implies different mineralogical compositions and hence more than one source region. The presence of near-Earth asteroid spectral signatures similar to those of certain main-belt asteroids supports models that derive some of these asteroids from the 5:2 Kirkwood gap and the Flora family by gravitational perturbations. Planetary and satellite surfaces are different in composition than the near-Earth asteroids, which is in agreement with theoretical arguments that such bodies should not be sources. Some near-Earth asteroids supply portions of Earth's meteorite flux, but other sources must also contribute.