The morphometry of small impact craters on Bennu: Relationships to geologic units, boulders, and impact armoringOPEN ACCESS 

R. Terik Daly, Olivier S. Barnouin, Edward B. Bierhaus, Michael G. Daly, Jeffrey A. Seabrook, Ronald L. Ballouz, Hari Nair, Raymond C. Espiritu, Erica R. Jawin, David Trang, Daniella N. DellaGuistina, Keara N. Burke, Juliette I. Brodbeck, Kevin J. Walsh

In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 28 April 2022



• Impact craters on Bennu smaller than ~10 m have depth-diameter (d/D) ratios that range from 0.04 to 0.27, with a mean d/D of 0.13 ± 0.04.
• Craters on Bennu’s Rugged Unit have a larger average d/D than those on the Smooth Unit, possibly the result of the surface ages, geologic activity, coarse-grained nature of the surface, or contrasting porosities.
• The number of craters with a central mound is consistent with predictions based on the abundance of central mounds in craters larger than 10 m.
• The distribution of d/D for craters with large boulders protruding into the crater suggests that crater formation is affected by how far the base of boulder is above the crater.”

“The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission revealed that the asteroid Bennu has ~1500 impact craters (Bierhaus et al., 2022). Here we use data from the OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter (OLA) to measure the depths, d, and diameters, D, of a sample of small (D ≤ 10 m) impact craters that span a broad range of latitudes and longitudes. d/D in this sample ranges from 0.04 to 0.27, with a mean of 0.13 ± 0.04. Compared to larger (D ≥ 10 m) craters on Bennu, those studied here have a greater average d/D. The mean d/D of craters on Bennu’s younger, Rugged Unit is statistically larger than the mean d/D of those on the older, Smooth Unit. One of the studied craters contains an interior mound that may indicate the presence of stronger material at depth. A large fraction of craters studied here are located near large boulders whose lengths are >50% the diameter of the crater. Some of these large boulders cross the crater rim crest, protruding into and perched above the crater interior. In the most extreme cases, the boulder length is ~2.5 times the crater diameter. The d/D of craters near large boulders is bimodal, which could be a consequence of how boulders affect crater formation. Laboratory experiments and results from Hayabusa2’s Small Carry-On Impactor experiment indicate that preexisting boulders and heterogeneities affect crater formation and d/D. The abundance of small craters on Bennu makes the asteroid a rich resource for understanding impact processes.”