Dr. Daniel Hestroffer

Observatoire de Paris
IMCCE 77 Av Denfert Rochereau 75014 Paris

Probing the Interior of Asteroids and Small Bodies

Asteroids and other small bodies in the Solar System are of high general and scientific interest in many aspects, with for instance space missions ready to return samples to the Earth and understand the origin and formation of our solar System.  Even ideas of industrial exploitation have merged during the last years. Future space mission projects will undoubtedly target some asteroids or other SBSS. In all theses cases knowledge of the structure and behaviour of the celestial body is crucial. A large proportion of such bodies is moreover believed to consist of gravitational aggregates (rubble piles) with no, or low, internal cohesion, with varying macro-porosity, with varying surface properties (from smooth regolith covered terrain, to very rough collection of boulders), and with varying topography (cratering, depressions, ridges). I will review the general scheme of granular systems applied to planetary science, and some recent results in the field covered by an international team at ISSI. I will present a concept of space mission with nanosatellites BIRDY for doing planetary geodesy and probing the interior of asteroids and other irregular satellites.