NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
The spectral relationships between NEA and the meteorites: An overview using principal components analysisOne of the primary reservoirs for meteorites is probably the planet-crossing Aten, Apollo, and Amor asteroids. Comparing the spectral characteristics of these two populations with each other and with the spectra of the main belt asteroids would provide insight into the dynamical processes that deliver meteorites to Earth. One method for obtaining an overview of general relationships in a large spectral data set is the statistical technique of principal components analysis. This technique quantifies general spectral similarities and reprojects the data in a plot of major axes of variation where distance is a measure of relative similarity. A major caveat should be kept in mind, however, spectra are sensitive to particle size and viewing geometry effects, and near Earth asteroids (NEA's) are probably significantly different from main belt asteroids in both these factors. The analysis was restricted to the spectral range of ECAS filters and included 116 meteorite spectra from the Gaffey (1976) survey and 417 asteroids from the Zellner et. al. (1985) survey of which 13 are planet-crossers. Although thirteen asteroids are not much of a sample on which to base conclusions, a few inferences can be drawn from this exercise. First, the NEA spectral characteristics are, on average, more consistent with the spectra of meteorites than are the main belt asteroids. Second, the S-type NEA's tend to be spectrally more similar to the ordinary chondrite meteorites than the main belt S-types. This suggests that the planet-crossing S-types do not represent the spectral range of the main belt S-type population and that the planet-crossing S-types are on average more like the ordinary chondrites than the main belt S-types. Third, the only direct asteroidal ordinary chondrite analog, the Q-type asteroid, 1862 Apollo, plots well within the field of the ordinary chondrite meteorites and represents the most common meteorite fall type. Finally, it is interesting that the planet-crossing asteroids occupy similar PCA space with the general trend of the meteorites while most of the main belt objects are offset from the meteorites in statistical space.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Britt, D. T.
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Tholen, D. J.
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Bell, J. F.
(Hawaii Univ. Honolulu., United States)
Pieters, C. M.
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available