Exogenous origin of hydration on asteroid (16) Psyche: The role of hydrated asteroid familiesOPEN ACCESS 

C. Avdellidou, M. Delbo’, A. Fienga

Accepted for publication in MNRAS


“Asteroid (16) Psyche, that for long was the largest M-type with no detection of hydration features in its spectrum, was recently discovered to have a weak 3 micron band and thus it eventually was added to the group of hydrated asteroids. Its relatively high density in combination with the high radar albedo, led to classify the asteroid as a metallic object, possibly a core of a differentiated body, remnant of “hit-and-run” collisions. The detection of hydration is, in principle, inconsistent with a pure metallic origin of this body. Here we consider the scenario that the hydration on its surface is exogenous and was delivered by hydrated impactors. We show that impacting asteroids that belong to families whose members have the 3 m band can deliver the hydrated material to Psyche. We developed a collisional model with which we test all the dark carbonaceous asteroid families, which contain hydrated members. We find that the major source of hydrated impactors is the family of Themis, with a total implanted mass on Psyche to be of the order of 10^14 kg. However, the hydrated fraction could be only a few per cent of the implanted mass, as the water content in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, the best analogue for the Themis asteroid family, is typically a few per cent of their mass.”