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Small crater populations on Vesta

Marchi, S. and Bottke, W.F. and O'Brien, D.P. and Schenk, P. and Mottola, S. and De Sanctis, M.C. and Kring, D.A. and Williams, D.A. and Raymond, C.A. and Russell, C.T. (2014) Small crater populations on Vesta. Planetary and Space Science, 103, pp. 96-103. Elsevier. ISSN 0032-0633

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.005


The NASA Dawn mission has extensively examined the surface of asteroid Vesta, the second most massive body in the main belt. The high quality of the gathered data provides us with a unique opportunity to determine the surface and internal properties of one of the most important and intriguing main belt asteroids (MBAs). In this paper, we focus on the size frequency distributions (SFDs) of sub-kilometer impact craters observed at high spatial resolution on several selected young terrains on Vesta. These small crater populations offer an excellent opportunity to determine the nature of their asteroidal precursors (namely MBAs) at sizes that are not directly observable from ground-based telescopes (i.e., below ~100m diameter). Moreover, unlike many other MBA surfaces observed by spacecraft thus far, the young terrains examined had crater spatial densities that were far from empirical saturation. Overall, we find that the cumulative power-law index (slope) of small crater SFDs on Vesta is fairly consistent with predictions derived from current collisional and dynamical models down to a projectile size of ~10m diameter (e.g., Bottkeetal.,2005a, b). The shape of the impactor SFD for small projectile sizes does not appear to have changed over the last several billions of years, and an argument can be made that the absolute number of small MBAs has remained roughly constant (within a factor of 2) over the same time period. The apparent steady state nature of the main belt population potentially provides us with a set of intriguing constraints that can be used to glean insights into the physical evolution of individual MBAs as well as the main belt as an ensemble.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/91476/
Document Type:Article
Title:Small crater populations on Vesta
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Marchi, S.NASA Lunar Science Institute, Boulder, CO / NASA Lunar Science Institute, USRA, Houston, TX, USAUNSPECIFIED
Bottke, W.F.NASA Lunar Science Institute, Southwese Research Institute, Boulder, CO, USAUNSPECIFIED
O'Brien, D.P.Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, United States.UNSPECIFIED
Schenk, P.Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, USAUNSPECIFIED
Mottola, S.stefano.mottola (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
De Sanctis, M.C.Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Rome, Italy.UNSPECIFIED
Kring, D.A.NASA Lunar Science Institute, USRA, Houston, TX, USAUNSPECIFIED
Williams, D.A.Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Raymond, C.A.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Russell, C.T.University of California, Los AngelesUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 96-103
Keywords:Asteroid(4)Vesta, Asteroid cratering, Asteroid evolution, Main belt asteroids
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt DAWN
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Asteroids and Comets
Deposited By: Mottola, Dr.phys. Stefano
Deposited On:19 Nov 2014 08:54
Last Modified:08 Mar 2018 18:48

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