Eros approaches saturation for craters larger than 200 m in diameter, but is significantly depleted in smaller craters . It has been suggested that this could reflect a paucity of small impactors in the main belt, due to their removal by the Yarkovsky effect [1,2]. Here we present the results of a self-consistent collisional and dynamical evolution model for the main belt and NEAs, along with a model for the evolution of asteroid crater populations, that show that Eros' lack of small craters is not likely due to the depletion of small impactors by the Yarkovsky effect, or any other depletion mechanism.To produce a main-belt size distribution that is suitably depleted in small impactors to match Eros' small crater population requires a more extreme size-dependent removal rate than the Yarkovsky effect and Poynting-Robertson drag can provide. Using such an extreme removal rate introduces a wave into the model main-belt size distribution that propagates to large sizes, and is inconsistent with the observed main-belt population. Similarly, it introduces a wave in the model NEA population that is inconsistent with the observed NEAs. Eros is not alone in showing a depletion of small craters. Recent observations of the asteroid Itokawa by the Hyabusa spacecraft show relatively few craters, and Yarkovsky depletion of small impactors has again been suggested as a possible explanation . Our work shows that a substantial depletion of small impactors from the main belt would have consequences at large sizes, inconsistent with observations of the actual main-belt and NEA size distributions. Other explanations for the depletion of small craters on asteroid surfaces must be explored [eg. 4,5]. References:  Chapman (2002), Icarus 155, p.104.  Bell (2001), LPSC XXXII, no.1964.  Saito (2006), Science 312, p.1341.  Richardson (2004), Science 306, p.1526.  Greenberg (2003), DPS 35, no.24.06.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #39
- Pub Date:
- October 2007