IS THE LARGE CRATER ON THE ASTEROID (2867) STEINS REALLY AN IMPACT CRATER?
The large crater on the asteroid (2867) Steins attracted much attention when it was first observed by the Rosetta spacecraft in 2008. Initially, it was widely thought to be unusually large compared to the size of the asteroid. It was quickly realized that this was not the case and there are other examples of similar (or larger) craters on small bodies in the same size range; however, it is still widely accepted that it is a crater arising from an impact onto the body which occurred after its formation. The asteroid (2867) Steins also has an equatorial bulge, usually considered to have arisen from redistribution of mass due to spin-up of the body caused by the YORP effect. Conversely, it is shown here that, based on catastrophic disruption experiments in laboratory impact studies, a similarly shaped body to the asteroid Steins can arise from the break-up of a parent in a catastrophic disruption event; this includes the presence of a large crater-like feature and equatorial bulge. This suggests that the large crater-like feature on Steins may not be a crater from a subsequent impact, but may have arisen directly from the fragmentation process of a larger, catastrophically disrupted parent.
- Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, School of Physical Science, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NH (United Kingdom)
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Resource Type:
- Journal Article
- Resource Relation:
- Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 774; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTEROIDS; CRATERS; FRAGMENTATION; MASS; SPIN