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Near-Earth Objects’ Highways: dynamical evolution, fates and lifetimes


IPGP - Îlot Cuvier


Séminaires thème Origines


Othon Winter

University of Sao Paulo

It is well known that the Near-Earth Objects population is sustained by bodies that migrate inwards coming from outer regions of the Solar System. The usual understanding is that once these objects become NEOs they are at the end of their lives, with an expected life of approximately 10 Myrs before probably hitting the Sun. But that is only part of the story. We aim to revisit the dynamic evolution of the NEO population inside the Solar System using a large sample of real objects. Therefore, we separate the phase space into five different regions: Near-Earth Objects (NEO), Main Asteroid Belt (MAB), Jupiter Family Comets (JFC), Centaurs (CEN) and Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO). We performed numerical simulations for more than 5000 NEOs for 100 Myrs and tracked their transitions between regions to determine the most common routes and fates for this population. We find that, during their dynamical evolution, more than half of the objects are first transferred to the JFC region and make their way out from the Solar System through it. There is also a significant frequent exchange of bodies between NEO and MAB regions, in both directions. At least 1/3 of the bodies move to the MAB region, but less than 1% of them end their lives inside it. So, we can conclude that MAB is a transitional region where bodies briefly pass through. We also found that only about 15% of the bodies never leave the NEO region. From those, 2/3 collide with the terrestrial planets and the remaining 1/3 survive for the whole integration of 100 Myrs. Additionally, we show that almost 10% of the studied sample can reach the CEN region and remain there for a substantial amount of time, telling a different side of the story for the NEO population.