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

tel: +1 520 547-3954

Pasquale Tricarico, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Planetary Science Institute

Research Projects

Participating Scientist of the NASA Mission Dawn to Asteroid Vesta
Collaborating with the rest of the Dawn Science Team to study the gravity data collected at the asteroid Vesta, to determine the characteristics of its interior structure, such as the size, density and shape of a possible core, the density of the mantle, and the density and thickness of the crust. Also involved in the search for possible natural satellites of Vesta, and in the thermal characterization of the asteroid.

Dynamics of Cometary Dust
Determine the observable effects due to grains that move in bound orbits around a cometary nucleus, escape the gravity of the nucleus, or fall back on to the nucleus. In collaboration with N. Samarasinha.

Studying the dynamics of near-Earth asteroids and comets using a distributed computing network. Applications include a detailed characterization of the near-Earth asteroids population, and the development of optimal search strategies for astronomical surveys, see this page for more details. This project relies on more than 50,000 volunteers and 80,000 computers from around the world to perform its computations. In collaboration with the Catalina Sky Survey and the Minor Planet Center.

ORSA Software
The Orbit Reconstruction, Simulation and Analysis (ORSA) software represents the basis of all my other projects in celestial mechanics. It has been continuously developed, debugged and validated over the last decade, resulting in a very solid code-base, an excellent starting point for the rapid development of specialized tools.

Research Interests

Dynamical Characterization of Multiple Asteroid Systems
Development of a coherent dynamical model for multiple asteroid systems with non-spherical primaries, to accurately determine the dynamical state of the satellites, and investigate the internal composition of the primary.

Thermal Modeling of Asteroids
Developing a full set of thermal modeling tools for application to asteroids, including the standard thermal model (STM), the near-Earth asteroids thermal model (NEATM), and the thermophysical model. In collaboration with M. Sykes and J.-Y. Li.

Dust Trails
Studying the dynamics of dust trails, generated from a cometary parent body and evolving under the influence of graviational perturbations and solar radiation pressure. In collaboration with M. Sykes.

Former Research Projects

Resonant Mechanism for Capture of Irregular Satellites
We examined a resonant mechanism for capture of irregular satellites during planetary migration. The mechanism involved an unusual 1:1 coorbital resonance between the planet and object to be captured. In collaboration with S. Kortenkamp.

Dynamical Stability of Trojan Asteroids
Worked at the long term dynamical stability of asteroids in 1:1 mean motion resonance with a planet, librating near the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points. Obtained high-resolution maps of the dynamics of Trojans for the four giant planets in the solar system plus Venus and Mars, showing the destabilizing role of secular resonances. Implemented and tested the frequency map analysis code, the main tool used for these studies, that has been extensively used by the group ever since. In collaboration with F. Marzari at Padova University, Italy and H. Scholl at Observatory of Nice, France.

Gravitational Waves
Data mining for the AURIGA gravitational waves detector at the Legnaro National Laboratories, Italy. Work focused on possible emission of gravitational waves in coincidence with gamma-ray bursts. Obtained first ever upper limit on such coincidence events. In collaboration with P. Fortini and A. Ortolan.