It has now been accepted by the scientific community that Small Solar System Bodies are granular aggregates which are formed by dust, pebbles, rocks, boulders and everything in between. Solar radiation pressure can change the rotation as well as the orbit of these bodies to the point where centrifugal forces can deform or disrupt them. So my job at CU has two main thrusts, one scientific and the other more closely related to engineering. On the scientific side, my research is concerned with the understanding of how the internal structure of SSSBs was attained, its origins, strength and how it affects their rotational evolution. This is also related to the formation of asteroid shapes, binary asteroids (asteroids with a natural satellite), asteroid pairs and active asteroids (main belt comets). On the engineering side, it is part of my job to understand how spacecraft sampling, anchoring and landing mechanisms interact with asteroid surfaces in view of current space missions.
granular matter, small solar system bodies, discrete element method simulations