Dynamical Origin and Terrestrial Impact Flux of Large Near-Earth Asteroids [EPA]


Dynamical models of the asteroid delivery from the main belt suggest that the current impact flux of diameter D>10 km asteroids on the Earth is 0.5-1 per Gyr. Studies of the Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) population find a much higher flux, with ~7 D>10-km asteroid impacts per Gyr. Here we show that this problem is rooted in the application of impact probability of small NEAs (1.5 per Gyr per object), whose population is well characterized, to large NEAs. In reality, large NEAs evolve from the main belt by different escape routes, have a different orbital distribution, and lower impact probabilities (0.8+/-0.3 per Gyr per object) than small NEAs. In addition, we find that the current population of two D>10 km NEAs (Ganymed and Eros) is a slight fluctuation over the long term average of 1.1+/-0.5 D>10 km NEAs in a steady state. These results have important implications for our understanding of the occurrence of the K/T-scale impacts on the terrestrial worlds.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Nesvorny and F. Roig
Wed, 15 Nov 17

Comments: AJ, in press