The Asteroid-Meteorite Connection: Forging a New Link to Vesta as the Parent Body of Basaltic Achondrite (HED) Meteorites
Asteroid 4 Vesta has been at the center of the debate over the identity of the howardite eucrite diogenite (HED) parent body since the early 1970s. Despite its unique (among the 500 largest asteroids) compositional match to HED meteorites, substantial dynamical difficulties in delivering fragments from Vesta to the Earth have precluded any conclusive HED parent body link. These dynamical difficulties arise because Vesta's orbital location is far from known resonances. Consequently, it has been argued as dynamically improbable that meteoroid-sized (1 km) fragments could be excavated from Vesta with sufficient velocities to reach the resonances. Through new astronomical observations, numerous small (4-7 km) asteroids between Vesta and the 3:1 resonance have been discovered to have eucrite and diogenite compositions. Based on similar orbital elements to Vesta, all of these new asteroids are likely large impact fragments excavated from Vesta. Their current orbits imply ejection velocities in excess of 700 m/sec. Smaller (1 km) fragments can therefore be expected to have been ejected with velocities greater than 1 km/sec, sufficient to reach the 3:1 and v6 resonances. Thus it now appears to be dynamically viable for Vesta to be linked as the HED parent body.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
- Pub Date:
- March 1993
- Meteoritic Composition;
- Vesta Asteroid;
- Orbital Elements;