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The Geology and Geophysics of Kuiper Belt Object (486958) Arrokoth

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020

J.R. Spencer (1), S.A. Stern (1), J.M. Moore (2), H.A. Weaver (3), K.N. Singer (1), C.B. Olkin (1), A.J. Verbiscer (4), W.B. McKinnon (5), J.Wm. Parker (1), R.A. Beyer (6 and 2), J.T. Keane (7), T.R. Lauer (8), S.B. Porter (1), O.L. White (6 and 2), B.J. Buratti (9), M.R. El-Maarry (10 and 11), C.M. Lisse (3), A.H. Parker (1), H.B. Throop (12), S.J. Robbins (1), O.M. Umurhan (2), R.P. Binzel (13), D.T. Britt (14), M.W. Buie (1), A.F. Cheng (3), D.P. Cruikshank (2), H.A. Elliott (15), G.R. Gladstone (15), W.M. Grundy (16 and 17), M.E. Hill (3), M. Horanyi (18), D.E. Jennings (19), J.J. Kavelaars (20), I.R. Linscott (21), D.J. McComas (22), R.L. McNutt (3), S. Protopapa (1), D.C. Reuter (19), P.M. Schenk (23), M.R. Showalter (6), L.A. Young (1), A.M. Zangari (1), A.Y. Abedin (20), C.B. Beddingfield (6), S.D. Benecchi (24), E. Bernardoni (18), C.J. Bierson (25), D. Borncamp (26), V.J. Bray (27), A.L. Chaikin (28), R.D. Dhingra (29), C. Fuentes (30), T. Fuse (31), P.L Gay (24), S.D.J. Gwyn (20), D.P. Hamilton (32), J.D. Hofgartner (9), M.J. Holman (33), A.D. Howard (34), C.J.A. Howett (1), H. Karoji (35), D.E. Kaufmann (1), M. Kinczyk (36), B.H. May (37), M. Mountain (38), M. Pätzold (39), J.M. Petit (40), M.R. Piquette (18), I.N. Reid (41), H.J. Reitsema (42), K.D. Runyon (3), S.S. Sheppard (43), J.A. Stansberry (41), T. Stryk (44), P. Tanga (45), D.J. Tholen (46), D.E. Trilling (17), L.H. Wasserman (16) ((1) Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, USA, (2) NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field USA, (3) Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, USA, (4) Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, (5) Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, USA, (6) SETI Institute, Mountain View, USA, (7) Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA, (8) National Science Foundation's National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, Tucson, USA, (9) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, USA, (10) Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK, (11) University College London, Gower St, Bloomsbury, London, UK, (12) Independent Consultant, Washington, DC, USA, (13) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA, (14) Department of Physics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA, (15) Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, USA, (16) Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, USA, (17) Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, USA, (18) Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, (19) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA, (20) National Research Council of Canada, Victoria, Canada, (21) Independent Consultant, Mountain View, USA, (22) Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, USA, (23) Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, USA, (24) Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, USA, (25) Earth and Planetary Science Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, (26) Decipher Technology Studios, Alexandria, VA, USA, (27) Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA, (28) Independent Science Writer, Arlington, USA, (29) University of Idaho, Moscow, USA, (30) Universidad de Chile, Centro de Astrofísica y Tecnologías Afines, Santiago, Chile, (31) Kashima Space Technology Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Kashima, Japan, (32) Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, (33) Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA, (34) Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, (35) National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Tokyo, Japan, (36) Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA, (37) Independent Collaborator, Windlesham, England, UK, (38) Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Washington, DC, USA, (39) Rheinisches Institut für Umweltforschung an der Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany, (40) Institut Univers, Temps-fréquence, Interfaces, Nanostructures, Atmosphère et environnement, Molécules, Unité Mixte de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Universite Bourgogne Franche Comte, Besancon, France, (41) Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA, (42) Independent Consultant, Holland, USA, (43) Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC, USA, (44) Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge, USA, (45) Université Côte d'Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Laboratoire Lagrange, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7293, Nice, France, (46) Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA)

(Submitted on 1 Apr 2020)

The Cold Classical Kuiper Belt, a class of small bodies in undisturbed orbits beyond Neptune, are primitive objects preserving information about Solar System formation. The New Horizons spacecraft flew past one of these objects, the 36 km long contact binary (486958) Arrokoth (2014 MU69), in January 2019. Images from the flyby show that Arrokoth has no detectable rings, and no satellites (larger than 180 meters diameter) within a radius of 8000 km, and has a lightly-cratered smooth surface with complex geological features, unlike those on previously visited Solar System bodies. The density of impact craters indicates the surface dates from the formation of the Solar System. The two lobes of the contact binary have closely aligned poles and equators, constraining their accretion mechanism.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Journal reference: Science, 367, aay3999 (2020)

DOI: 10.1126/science.aay3999

Cite as: arXiv:2004.00727 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2004.00727v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: John Spencer

[v1] Wed, 1 Apr 2020 22:44:15 UTC (6,732 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.00727

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