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Equilibrium models of mass distribution and collisional lifetimes of asteroidsAn understanding of the steady state distribution expected in the present day asteroid belt is important to our understanding of the collisional evolution of the asteroids and their physical properties. We have extended earlier work to show that, in the absence of gravity, a simple power law distribution as a function of mass with constant exponent will give an equilibrium distribution of asteroids for all bodies much smaller than the largest asteroids. This result holds for realistic fragmentation mechanisms and is independent of the physical properties of the asteroids. Inclusion of the effects of gravity on disruption and fragmentation of asteroids precludes an analytic solution to this problem, and rules out a simple power law distribution. We are currently calculating numerical solutions in order to determine the expected steady state mass distribution in the asteroid belt.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Williams, David R. (Carnegie Institution of Washington Washington, DC, United States)
Wetherill, George (Carnegie Institution of Washington Washington, DC, 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 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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