Latvian Council of Science Fundamental and Applied research project No. lzp-2018/1-0401 “Complex Investigations of solar system small bodies".

Project implementation period: 3 years (31.08.2018 - 31.08.2021)

Scientific leader: Dr.phys. I.Eglītis.

Project in a total sum 300 000EUR

Scientific institutions involved in the project:

1. University of Latvia (Baldone Astrophysics Observatory of the Institute of Astonomy of the University of Latvia) - management;

Dr.phys. I.Eglītis, Dr.phys. A.Grapa, Dr.paed. I.Vilks, BSc. A.Sokolova, BSc V.Eglīte, BSc. A.Bule, technician R.Eglītis

2. Ventspils University College (Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center) - participation;

Dr.phys. N.Jēkabsons, Maria Nechajeva, MSc. Karina Sīrirmante, MSc. Vladislav Bezrukov, MSc.Marcis Bleiders

The main goal of the project is to conduct research of small bodies (asteroids and comets) in the Solar System using modern optical and radio methods, as well as data processing methods. In order to achieve the set goal, the following tasks are identified:

  • Observations of asteroids, comets and NEO (Near Earth Objects) using Baldone Schmidt telescope;
  • Photometric studies of asteroids and comets;
  • Simultaneous comet observations in single antenna mode and VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) modes;
  • Combined radio and optical data processing.

The results of the project will make it possible to predict the probability of collision of dangerous asteroids and small bodies of the solar system with the Earth, as well as to analyze the data to understand the chemical composition of the observed small body of the solar system.

The properties of asteroids obtained in the future: rotation period, surface structure features (craters, frozen gas fields, ice) will be useful for extracting minerals on them. The results of the project will be used to plan the extraction of interplanetary fuel and astronauts' oxygen from the small bodies of the solar system.

As part of the project, new asteroids are being searched for, including those dangerous to Earth, using the largest Latvian optical telescope - Baldone Schmidt. Observational data are collected to determine the surface features of asteroids. By combining optical and radio methods, to understand the sources of maser radiation in the gaseous tails of comets.

Companies that plan to extract minerals on asteroids in the future, such as the Deep Space Industry, USA, are showing interest in the research results.

SIA “CRYOGENIC AND VACUUM SYSTEMS” is interested in innovative ideas in the construction of space equipment (receivers / transmitters), taking over the experience gained during the project by improving the L-band (18 cm range) radio radiation receiver.

Project mid-term period [report].