Long-term orbital evolution of Dimorphos boulders and implications on the origin of meteoritesOPEN ACCESS 

M. Fenucci, A. Carbognani

Accepted for publication on MNRAS


By using recent observations of the Dydimos-Dimorphos system from the Hubble Space Telescope, 37 boulders with a size of 4 to 7 meters ejected from the system during the impact with the DART spacecraft were identified. In this work, we studied the orbital evolution of a swarm of boulders with a similar size to that of the detected ones. By using recent estimates for the ejection velocity of the boulders, we numerically propagated the dynamics of the swarm for 20 kyr in the future. We found that the ejection velocities and the non-gravitational effects are not strong enough to change the secular evolution significantly. The minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) with the Earth will be reached in about 2.5 kyr, but it will not fall below 0.02 au. On the contrary, the Mars MOID will be very small in four instances, two near 6 kyr and the other two near 15 kyr. Therefore, there may be a chance for them to impact Mars in the future. Given the rarefaction of the Martian atmosphere, we expect the boulders to arrive intact on the ground and excavate a small impact crater. The results presented here provide a further indication that some meteorites found on Earth originated in collisions of ~100 m near-Earth asteroids with projectiles of ~1 m in size.