2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 30-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


RODRIGUEZ-FORD, L., FORD, A.J. and NOLAN, M.C., Arecibo Observatory, HC-3 Box 53995, Arecibo, PR 00612, lford@naic.edu

The Arecibo Observatory is the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Using the planetary radar system at the Arecibo Observatory, we are able to observe many objects in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, planets, and our Moon. Radar images can provide a wealth of knowledge including an object's size, shape, surface features, and spin rate, which can be used create a computer-generated shape model. Asteroids demonstrate a wide range of shapes, including spherical, ellipsoidal, and the common potato or peanut shapes. With a 3-D printer, we can turn that model into an object that can be held. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 3-D model, which can be held and felt, is worth so much more. A 3-D model allows one to hold and/or demonstrate what is likely happening far off the surface of Earth. While not many people will ever be able to touch an asteroid in space, this gives everyone the chance to see what it looks like.

The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968), and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana, and the Universities Space Research Association. The Arecibo Planetary Radar Program is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grants No. NNX12AF24G and NNX13AQ46G issued through the Near Earth Object Observations program.