Matt Varakian

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I'm a 5th year graduate student here at NMSU, working with Dr. Nancy Chanover as part of the planetary research group. My research focuses on main belt asteroids, with a particular interest in C-complex asteroids and the Themis Dynamical family. Using a combination of existing asteroid spectra and NEOWISE photometry in the 3μm region, my goal is to better understand the distribution of water ice and organic material in the inner solar system. Putting this present day distribution in the context of the early solar system environment and its subsequent evolution will help inform large scale science questions relating to how widespread substances important to life currently are, how early asteroid differentiation affects present day composition, and the origin and potential delivery of Earth's water.