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Collision lifetimes and impact statistics of near-Earth asteroidsWe have examined the lifetimes of Near-Earth asteroids (NEA's) by directly computing the collision probabilities with other asteroids and with the terrestrial planets. We compare these to the dynamical lifetimes, and to collisional lifetimes assumed by other workers. We discuss the implications of the differences. The lifetimes of NEA's are important because, along with the statistics of craters on the Earth and Moon, they help us to compute the number of NEA's and the rate at which new NEA's are brought to the vicinity of the Earth. Assuming that the NEA population is in steady-state, the lifetimes determine the flux of new bodies needed to replenish the population. Earlier estimates of the lifetimes ignored (or incompletely accounted for) the differences in the velocities of asteroids as they move in their orbits, so our results differ from (for example) Greenberg and Chapman (1983, Icarus 55, 455) and Wetherill (1988, Icarus 76, 1) by factors of 2 to 10. We have computed the collision rates and relative velocities of NEA's with each other, the main-belt asteroids, and the terrestrial planets, using the corrected method described by Bottke et. al. (1992, GRL, in press). We find that NEA's typically have shorter collisional lifetimes than do main-belt asteroids of the same size, due to their high eccentricities, which typically give them aphelia in the main belt. Consequently, they spend a great deal of time in the main belt, and are moving much slower than the bodies around them, making them 'sitting ducks' for impacts with other asteroids. They cross the paths of many objects, and their typical collision velocities are much higher (10-15 km/s) than the collision velocities (5 km/s) among objects within the main belt. These factors combine to give them substantially shorter lifetimes than had been previously estimated.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bottke, W. F., Jr. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Nolan, M. C. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Greenberg, R. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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Related Records

IDRelationTitle19940007055Analytic PrimarySixth Annual Workshop on Space Operations Applications and Research (SOAR 1992), volume 2