Sabina D. Raducan, currently a PhD student in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College, London, is awarded the 2020 Pellas-Ryder Award for her paper titled “The role of asteroid strength, porosity and internal friction in impact momentum transfer” published in Icarus in 2019. Sabina has been part of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Program (DART) investigation team that examines the use of an impactor spacecraft for planetary defense against potential threats posed by Earth-crossing asteroids. Supervised by Gareth Collins, she applied the iSALE shock physics code to model the effect of asteroid properties (cohesion, porosity, internal fraction) on ejecta momentum distribution and to calculate the resulting deflection induced by the impactor. Sabina’s important contributions with this study involved modifying the iSALE code to track high-speed, early ejecta in a computationally efficient manner with the model and modifying ejecta scaling laws. Her work will be essential in interpreting the results of the DART mission and more generally in developing planetary defenses against asteroidal threats.
The Pellas-Ryder award is jointly sponsored by The Meteoritical Society and the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America.