Several authors investigated within the last ten years the stability of known Mars Trojans. A maximum of five Trojans were quoted to librate around L5 and one around L4. Recent orbital data yield less Mars Trojans. According to our computations using orbital elements of Bowell's catalogue (march 2004), only three of the known asteroids, (5261) Eureka, 1998 VF31 and 2001 DH47 appear to librate around L5 over at least 1 Myr. Other previously quoted Mars Trojans are no more in the Trojan region, presumably due to an orbital improvement. We investigated the dynamical lifetime of the longest observed Trojan, Eureka, by two methods: i) by applying Laskar's frequency analysis and ii) by integrating the orbit of Eureka surrounded by a cloud of clones over several Gyrs. The Yarkovski effect is also taken into account in some integrations. The dynamical lifetime of Eureka is found to be of the order of 2-3 Gyrs. Spectroscopic and photometric results by Rivkin et al. (2003) suggest that Eureka is a highly differentiated kilometer-sized body. Its parent body was a much larger body. The physical properties of Eureka and its comparatively short dynamical lifetime rise the question for its origin.
AAS/Division of Dynamical Astronomy Meeting #35
- Pub Date:
- May 2004