Creep stability of the proposed AIDA mission target 65803 Didymos: I. Discrete cohesionless granular physics model
As the target of the proposed Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, the near-Earth binary asteroid 65803 Didymos represents a special class of binary asteroids, those whose primaries are at risk of rotational disruption. To gain a better understanding of these binary systems and to support the AIDA mission, this paper investigates the creep stability of the Didymos primary by representing it as a cohesionless self-gravitating granular aggregate subject to rotational acceleration. To achieve this goal, a soft-sphere discrete element model (SSDEM) capable of simulating granular systems in quasi-static states is implemented and a quasi-static spin-up procedure is carried out. We devise three critical spin limits for the simulated aggregates to indicate their critical states triggered by reshaping and surface shedding, internal structural deformation, and shear failure, respectively. The failure condition and mode, and shear strength of an aggregate can all be inferred from the three critical spin limits. The effects of arrangement and size distribution of constituent particles, bulk density, spin-up path, and interparticle friction are numerically explored. The results show that the shear strength of a spinning self-gravitating aggregate depends strongly on both its internal configuration and material parameters, while its failure mode and mechanism are mainly affected by its internal configuration. Additionally, this study provides some constraints on the possible physical properties of the Didymos primary based on observational data and proposes a plausible formation mechanism for this binary system. With a bulk density consistent with observational uncertainty and close to the maximum density allowed for the asteroid, the Didymos primary in certain configurations can remain geo-statically stable without requiring cohesion.
- Pub Date:
- September 2017
- Geological processes;
- Earth Science;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 66 pages, 24 figures, submitted to Icarus on 25/Aug/2016