Contact

Pasquale Tricarico
Planetary Science Institute
1700 E. Fort Lowell Rd. #106
Tucson, AZ 85719
USA

tel: +1 520 547-3954
email: tricaric@psi.edu

Pasquale Tricarico, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Planetary Science Institute

News

Asteroid 2014 AA -- January 2, 2014
This very small asteroid likely hit the Earth somewhere over the Atlantic ocean on January 2, one day after it was discovered.

Asteroid 2012 XE54 to Cross Earth's Shadow -- December 10, 2012
Yet another asteroid experiencing an eclipse during an Earth flyby.

The Peculiar Flyby of Asteroid 2012 KT42 -- May 29, 2012
Read how this tiny asteroid experiences an eclipse and a solar transit during the same Earth flyby.

Publications in Clouds -- May 28, 2012
It's always interesting, and sometimes a bit surprising, to look at some data that you think you know from a completely new perspective. Just recently, I played a bit with word clouds made using the titles, authors, journal, and year of my publications.

Summer of Code in Space 2011 -- Jul 13, 2011
Read about this great opportunity for students to contribute to open source space software projects during the summer months.

Asteroid 2011 MD -- Jun 23, 2011
The little asteroid 2011 MD, about 10 meters in diameter, will fly by the earth on Jun 27. I've posted here some animations showing the geometry of this encounter. It is interesting to note that it will come closer than the GPS satellites, and also that it comes from the norther hemisphere, passes over the Earth's south pole, and then is deflected so strongly that leaves the Earth back in the northern hemisphere.

Wrapping Up 2010 -- Feb 23, 2011
There has been a lot going on during the past year. The largest run ever of the Orbit@Home project was successfully completed, to study three years of real data from the Catalina Sky Survey and model the near-Earth asteroids population. This also allows to develop an optimized search strategy, and initial testing is now underway, with very promising results.
The NASA Mission Dawn to two of the largest asteroids, Vesta (2011-2012) and Ceres (2015), has recently expanded its science team in view of is imminent arrival at Vesta, and I am among the participating scientists that have been selected to contribute to study this asteroid. My main contributions will be in modeling the interior structure of Vesta using gravity data, in participating into the satellite search, and in the thermal characterization of the asteroid.
A new research project involving the dynamics of dust grains in proximity of a cometary nucleus has also recently started, see the abstract submitted to the LPSC 2011 meeting. We are very excited about this research and look forward at working at it.

Article: The Dynamical Environment of Dawn at Vesta -- Apr 21, 2010
We have submitted to the Planetary and Space Science journal (preprint available on astro-ph, PDF file) our study of the dynamics of the Dawn spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta. We focus on circular polar orbits with radius up to 1000 km, and analyze the location and effects of spin-orbit resonances while Dawn is slowly spiraling down. The gravitational potential of the asteroid is modeled assuming several interior structures (uniform, core+mantle), and the known low-resolution shape model. We find that it is possible for Dawn to get temporarily trapped at the 1:1 resonance (550 km orbital radius) while crossing it, but this trapping can be escaped by thrusting at the correct orbital phase. This work is in collaboration with Mark Sykes.

LPSC Conference Poster -- Feb 25, 2010
We are posting here our LPSC poster (letter paper size) on the dynamics of Dawn at Vesta. A manuscript presenting in all the details the methods used and the results obtained is in preparation. This work is in collaboration with Mark Sykes.

LPSC Conference Abstracts -- Jan 31, 2010
Two abstracts have been accepted by the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, both based on numerical simulations of Dawn's dynamics using our numerical code.
The first is a preliminary report on the dynamics of Dawn at Vesta. In this abstract we summarize our findings on the perturbations to the orbit of the spacecraft when operating at low altitude, in particular when crossing the 1:1 spin-orbit resonance. This work is in collaboration with Mark Sykes.
A second abstract by Tom Prettyman, Dawn's GRaND to reveal the complex geochemistry of Vesta, analyzes the sensitivity of Dawn to the geochemical composition of Vesta. This makes use of our simulated low-altitude dynamics to model realistically the flux of neutrons to be detected by the GRaND instrument.