Any equations or research paper would be helpful.

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    $\begingroup$ What have you learned from your research so far? You know, just so nobody duplicates your effort. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 18 '18 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ Our Sun and other stars may be analyzed using spectroscopy at a telescope. Mars rovers are equipped with other types of spectroscopes. But analyzing a far body that is not emitting light is difficult. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 18 '18 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Meteorites that have landed have been analysed - have you checked those? $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Mar 18 '18 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble Well, I found a helpful website called asterank.com. $\endgroup$ – Sad.coder Mar 22 '18 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike Yes, but they are of less help. $\endgroup$ – Sad.coder Mar 22 '18 at 20:36

Reflection spectroscopy in visible and IR wavelengths (using sunlight reflected from asteroids and collected by ground- and space-based instruments) allows for chemical and mineralogical characterization. See an intro here, with links to other sources of background info:


Other in situ spectroscopic methods (e.g., Raman) can be employed by spacecraft or surface systems which can actually touch an asteroid.

All of the above spectroscopic techniques can be employed on asteroidal samples returned to labs on Earth by sample-return spacecraft. See more on this at this Stack Exchange answer to a question about the OSIRIS-REx mission:

How will OSIRIS-REx scan and characterise the near-earth asteroid Bennu?

There are other characterization methods, but spectroscopy is a great way to start.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 Would one Rex be interested in adding a link to another REx? ;-) here and here $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 8 '18 at 23:51

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