Possible potentially threatening co-orbiting material of asteroid 2000EE104 identified through interplanetary magnetic field disturbances

1H. R. LAI, C. T. RUSSELL1, H. Y. WEI1, M. CONNORS2, and G. L. DELZANNO3
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1111/maps.12854]
1EPSS and IGPP, UCLA, 603 Charles Young Drive, 3845 Slichter Hall, Los Angeles, California 90095–1567, USA
2Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
3Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
Published by Arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) with diameters of <300 m are difficult to detect from the Earth with radar or optical telescopes unless and until they approach closely. If they are on collisional courses with the Earth, there is little that can be done to mitigate the considerable damage. Although destructive collisions in space are rare for 1 km diameter bodies and above, once hit by a sizeable impactor, such a NEO can develop a relatively dense cloud of co-orbiting material in which destructive collisions are relatively frequent. The gas and nanoscale dust released in the destructive collisions can be detected remotely by downstream spacecraft equipped with magnetometers. In this paper, we use such magnetic disturbances to identify regions of near-Earth space in which high densities of small objects are present. We find that asteroid (138175) 2000EE104 currently may have a cloud of potentially threatening co-orbiting material. Due to the scattered co-orbitals, there can be a finite impact probability whenever the Earth approaches the orbit of asteroid 2000EE104, regardless of the position of the asteroid itself.

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