Asteroids and meteorites provide key evidence on the formation of planetesimals in the solar system. Asteroids are traditionally thought to form in a bottom-up process by coagulation within a population of initially kilometer-scale planetesimals. However, new models challenge this idea by demonstrating that asteroids of sizes from 100 to 1000 km can form directly from the gravitational collapse of small particles that have organized themselves in dense filaments and clusters in the turbulent gas. Particles concentrate passively between eddies down to the smallest scales of the turbulent gas flow and inside large-scale pressure bumps and vortices. The streaming instability causes particles to take an active role in the concentration, by piling up in dense filaments whose friction on the gas reduces the radial drift compared to that of isolated particles. In this chapter we review new paradigms for asteroid formation and critically compare them against the observed properties of asteroids as well as constraints from meteorites. Chondrules of typical sizes from 0.1 to 1 mm are ubiquitous in primitive meteorites and likely represent the primary building blocks of asteroids. Chondrule-sized particles are nevertheless tightly coupled to the gas via friction and are therefore hard to concentrate in large amounts in the turbulent gas. We review recent progress on understanding the incorporation of chondrules into the asteroids, including layered accretion models where chondrules are accreted onto asteroids over millions of years. We highlight in the end 10 unsolved questions in asteroid formation where we expect that progress will be made over the next decade.
- Pub Date:
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Chapter to appear in the book ASTEROIDS IV, (University of Arizona Press) Space Science Series, edited by P. Michel, F. DeMeo and W. Bottke