The Main Asteroid Belt: The Primary Source of Debris on Comet-like OrbitsOPEN ACCESS 

P. M. Shober, E. K. Sansom, P. A. Bland, H. A. R. Devillepoix, M. C. Towner, M. Cupák, R. M. Howie, B. A. D. Hartig and S. L. Anderson

The Planetary Science Journal
Published: 2021 May 13


“Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) contribute a significant amount of debris to near-Earth space. However, telescopic observations of these objects seem to suggest that they have short physical lifetimes. If this is true, the material generated will also be short-lived, but fireball observation networks still detect material on cometary orbits. This study examines centimeter-to-meter-scale sporadic meteoroids detected by the Desert Fireball Network from 2014 to 2020 originating from JFC-like orbits. Analyzing each event’s dynamic history and physical characteristics, we confidently determined whether they originated from the main asteroid belt or the trans-Neptunian region. Our results indicate that <4% of sporadic meteoroids on JFC-like orbits are genetically cometary. This observation is statistically significant and shows that cometary material is too friable to survive in near-Earth space. Even when considering shower contributions, meteoroids on JFC-like orbits are primarily from the main belt. Thus, the presence of genuine cometary meteorites in terrestrial collections is highly unlikely.”

Orbits of meteoroids (2014-2020) detected by the Desert Fireball Network in Australia. Video: P.M. Shober