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Numerical predictions of surface effects during the 2029 close approach of asteroid 99942 Apophis

By SpaceRef Editor
August 4, 2014
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Numerical predictions of surface effects during the 2029 close approach of asteroid 99942 Apophis

Yang Yu, Derek C. Richardson, Patrick Michel, Stephen R. Schwartz, Ronald-Louis Ballouz

(Submitted on 1 Aug 2014)

Asteroid (99942) Apophis’ close approach in 2029 will be one of the most significant small-body encounter events in the near future and offers a good opportunity for in situ exploration to determine the asteroid’s surface properties and measure any tidal effects that might alter its regolith configuration. Resurfacing mechanics has become a new focus for asteroid researchers due to its important implications for interpreting surface observations, including space weathering effects. This paper provides a prediction for the tidal effects during the 2029 encounter, with an emphasis on whether surface refreshing due to regolith movement will occur.

The potential shape modification of the object due to the tidal encounter is first confirmed to be negligibly small with systematic simulations, thus only the external perturbations are taken into account for this work (despite this, seismic shaking induced by shifting blocks might still play a weak role and we will look into this mechanism in future work). A two-stage approach is developed to model the responses of asteroid surface particles (the regolith) based on the soft-sphere implementation of the parallel N-body gravity tree code pkdgrav.

A full-body model of Apophis is sent past the Earth on the predicted trajectory to generate the data of all forces acting at a target point on the surface. A sandpile constructed in the local frame is then used to approximate the regolith materials; all the forces the sandpile feels during the encounter are imposed as external perturbations to mimic the regolith’s behavior in the full scenario. The local mechanical environment on the asteroid surface is represented in detail, leading to an estimation of the change in global surface environment due to the encounter. Typical patterns of perturbation are presented that depend on the asteroid orientation and sense of rotation at perigee.


Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)



Cite as:

arXiv:1408.0168 [astro-ph.EP]  (or arXiv:1408.0168v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Yang Yu 

[v1] Fri, 1 Aug 2014 13:17:19 GMT (7034kb)

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