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Paul A. Abell, Lead Scientist for Planetary Small Bodies

abell

Area of Research/Engineering

Planetary Small Bodies

Contact Information

NASA / KR

paul.a.abell@nasa.gov

Wk: 281-483-0293

Fax: 281-483-5276

Education

Ph.D. Geology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003

M.S. Space Studies (minor in Geology), University of North Dakota, 1993

B.A. Astronomy/Physics, Colgate University, 1990

Research/Engineering Interests

Dr. Abell serves in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate at the NASA Johnson Space Center as the Lead for Planetary Small Bodies. He has been at the NASA Johnson Space Center since January 2004, and has served as a National Research Council Associate, a Postdoctoral Program Fellow, a Hayabusa Joint Science Team Member, a Research Scientist and Space Scientist.

Dr. Abell studies collection and analysis of telescopic spectral observations of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects in order to characterize their mineralogical and chemical compositions, as a means to determine their hazard potential; the identification and physical characterization of near-Earth objects for future robotic and human spacecraft missions. He also studies the collection and analysis of telescopic spectral observations of near-Earth and mainbelt objects in order to characterize their mineralogical and chemical compositions, as a means to determine their origin and geologic evolution and the identification of potential resources within the near-Earth object population for future utilization in space operations and on Earth.

Also among his interest are the collection and analysis of telescopic spectral observations of orbital debris and non-functional satellites in order to characterize their material types, as a means to constrain their albedoes and determine space weathering effects in low-Earth orbit, the investigation of comet-asteroid transition objects in order to quantify the fraction of the cometary component to the near-Earth object population and identify possible source regions to the near-Earth object population, and the investigation of the possible contributions of extra-terrestrial materials to the origin of life on Earth. He also studies the investigation and exploration of new field sites for the recovery of meteorites.

Prior to his tenure at NASA, Dr. Abell served as a Telemetry Officer for the Near Infrared Spectrometer, NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) Mission, at Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves as a Science Lead for the NEO Analogue Science Activities and Operations, NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). Dr. Abell is also a LOC member for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, a Lead for Human Exploration of NEOs, an Advisor/Member for the Hayabusa Sample Return Capsule Recovery Team, a Science Team Member for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), Solar System Collaboration - Identification of NEOs for Future Spacecraft Missions. He is also the Lead for the NEO Observing Strategies and Mission Target Coordination and the Science Lead for the Human Exploration of NEOs via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Dr. Abell is also a Reviewer for the Meteoritics and Planetary Science and Icarus journals, and for the NASA Research and Analysis Program.

Selected Publications

Abell, P. A., D. J. Korsmeyer, R. R. Landis, T. D. Jones, D. R. Adamo, D. Morrison, L. Lemke, A. Gonzales, R. Gershman, T. Sweetser, L. Johnson, and E. Lu (2009). "Scientific Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle." Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 44, 1825-1836.

Abell, P. A., D. J. Korsmeyer, R. R. Landis, T. D. Jones, D. R. Adamo, D. Morrison, L. Lemke, A. Gonzales, R. Gershman, T. Sweetser, and L. Johnson (2009). "Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle: A Planetary Defence Rationale." 1st International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defence Conference: Protecting the Earth from Asteroids, Grenada, Spain, April 27-30, 2009.

Abell, P. A., D. R. Adamo, T. D. Jones, D. J. Korsmeyer, and R. R. Landis (2009). "Scientific Investigation of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle." Planetary Decadal 2011 Science White Paper.

Abercromby, K. J., P. A. Abell, and E. Barker (2009). "Reflectance Spectra Comparison of Orbital Debris, Intact Spacecraft, and Intact Rocket Bodies in the GEO regime." 5th European Conference on Space Debris (ESA/ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany, March 30 - April 2, 2009.

Landis, R. R., P. A. Abell, D. J. Korsmeyer, T. D. Jones, and D. R. Adamo (2009) "Piloted Operations at a Near-Earth Object." Acta Astronautica, 65, 1687-1697.