The dynamical complexity of surface mass shedding from a top-shaped asteroid near the critical spin limit
Yu, Yang; Michel, Patrick; Hirabayashi, Masatoshi; Schwartz, Stephen R.; Zhang, Yun; Richardson, Derek C.; Liu, Xiaodong (2018-07-24)
Yang Yu et al 2018 AJ 156 59. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/aaccf7
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The regolith transport near the surface of an asteroid is inherently sensitive to the local topography. In this paper, conditions of surface mass shedding and the subsequent evolution of the shedding material are studied for the primary of 65803 Didymos, serving as a representative for a large group of top-shaped asteroids that rotate near their critical spin limits. We considered the influences of an asymmetric shape and a non-spherical gravity, and demonstrate that these asymmetries play a significant role in the shedding process as well as in the subsequent orbital motion. The mass shedding conditions are given as a function of the geological coordinates, and show a clear-cut dependency on the local topographic features. We find that at different stages of the Yarkovsky–O’Keefe–Radzievskii–Paddack spin-up, the bulged areas exhibit a uniform superior advantage of enabling mass shedding over the depressed areas. "Dead zones" free from mass shedding are found around the polar sites. Numerical simulations show that the orbital motion of the shedding material experiences a drastic change as the spin rate is approaching the critical limit. The "mass leaking" effect is reinforced as the spin rate increases; the lower spin rates correspond to a higher capability of trapping the lofted particles in the vicinity of the asteroid, which statistically improves the probability of collisional growth in orbit. We also find that the topological transition of the equilibrium point can in practice lead to rapid clearance of the shedding material and transport of their orbits to larger distances from the surface.
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