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E-type asteroid (2867) Steins: flyby target for Rosetta

Abstract : Aims. The mineralogy of the asteroid (2867) Steins was investigated in the framework of a ground-based science campaign dedicated to the future encounter with Rosetta spacecraft. Methods. Near-infrared (NIR) spectra of the asteroid in the 0.8−2.5 μm spectral range have been obtained with SpeX/IRTF in remoteobserving mode from Meudon, France, and Cambridge, MA, in December 2006 and in January and March 2007. A spectrum with a combined wavelength coverage from 0.4 to 2.5 μm was constructed using previously obtained visible data. To constrain the possible composition of the surface, we constructed a simple mixing model using a linear (areal) mix of three components obtained from the RELAB database. A space-weathering model was applied to the aubrite ALH-78113 spectrum. Results. The four new NIR spectra reveal no major absorption features. The best-fit model for the constructed visible-plus-NIR spectrum is represented by a mixture of 57% enstatite, 42% oldhamite, and 1% orthopyroxene. These results place Steins in a subdivision of the E-type class with objects like Angelina, Eger, and Nereus. This group is not sampled by the current collection of aubrite meteorites. Interestingly, the reddened aubrite spectrum also provides a good match to the Steins VNIR spectrum.
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Dan Alin Nedelcu, Mirel Birlan, Pierre Vernazza, Richard P. Binzel, Marcello Fulchignoni, et al.. E-type asteroid (2867) Steins: flyby target for Rosetta. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2007, 473 (3), pp. L33 - L36. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361:20078272⟩. ⟨hal-00616487⟩

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