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.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Meteoritics and Planetary Science|
|Publication status||Published - Jun. 2017|