Science and Exploration

Boulders on Asteroid Toutatis As Observed by Chang’e-2

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
November 4, 2015
Filed under ,
Boulders on Asteroid Toutatis As Observed by Chang’e-2
Boulders on Asteroid Toutatis

Boulders are ubiquitously found on the surfaces of small rocky bodies in the inner solar system and their spatial and size distributions give insight into the geological evolution and collisional history of the parent bodies.
Using images acquired by the Chang’e-2 spacecraft, more than 200 boulders have been identified over the imaged area of the near-Earth asteroid Toutatis. The cumulative boulder size frequency distribution (SFD) shows a steep slope of -4.4 \pm 0.1, which is indicative of a high degree of fragmentation. Similar to Itokawa, Toutatis probably has a rubble-pile structure, as most boulders on its surface cannot solely be explained by impact cratering. The significantly steeper slope for Toutatis’ boulder SFD compared to Itokawa may imply a different preservation state or diverse formation scenarios. In addition, the cumulative crater SFD has been used to estimate a surface crater retention age of approximately 1.6 \pm 0.3 Gyr.

Yun Jiang, Jianghui Ji, Jiangchuan Huang, Simone Marchi, Yuan Li, Wing-Huen Ip
(Submitted on 3 Nov 2015)

Comments: 12 pages, 4 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: Scientific Reports 5, 16029 (2015)
Cite as: arXiv:1511.00766 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1511.00766v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jianghui Ji
[v1] Tue, 3 Nov 2015 03:38:36 GMT (463kb)

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