Document Type

Article

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date

8-1-2020

Publication Title

JGR Planets

DOI

10.1029/2019JE006282

Abstract

Asteroid (101955) Bennu, a near‐Earth object with a primitive carbonaceous chondrite‐like composition, was observed by the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security‐Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS‐REx) spacecraft to undergo multiple particle ejection events near perihelion between December 2018 and February 2019. The three largest events observed during this period, which all occurred 3.5 to 6 hr after local noon, placed numerous particles <10 cm on temporary orbits around Bennu. Here we examine whether these events could have been produced by sporadic meteoroid impacts using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Meteoroid Engineering Model 3.0. Most projectiles that impact Bennu come from nearly isotropic or Jupiter‐family comets and have evolved toward the Sun by Poynting‐Robertson drag. We find that 7,000‐J impacts on Bennu occur with a biweekly cadence near perihelion, with a preference to strike in the late afternoon (~6 pm local time). This timing matches observations. Crater scaling laws also indicate that these impact energies can reproduce the sizes and masses of the largest observed particles, provided the surface has the cohesive properties of weak, porous materials. Bennu's ejection events could be caused by the same kinds of meteoroid impacts that created the Moon's asymmetric debris cloud observed by the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). Our findings also suggest that fewer ejection events should take place as Bennu moves further away from the Sun, a result that can be tested with future observations.

Comments

©2020. The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Published Citation

Bottke, W.F., Moorhead, A.V., Connolly, H.C., Hergenrother, C.W., Molaro, J.L, & Michel, P. et al. (2020). Meteoroid Impacts as a Source of Bennu's Particle Ejection Events. JGR Planets 125(8). 10.1029/2019JE006282

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