Particle Ejection Contributions to the Rotational Acceleration and Orbit Evolution of Asteroid (101955) Bennu

D. J. Scheeres, J. W. McMahon, D. N. Brack, A. S. French, S. R. Chesley, D. Farnocchia, D. Vokrouhlický, R. L. Ballouz, J. P. Emery, B. Rozitis, M. C. Nolan, C. W. Hergenrother, D. S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper explores the implications of the observed Bennu particle ejection events for that asteroid's spin rate and orbit evolution, which could complicate interpretation of the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) and Yarkovsky effects on this body's spin rate and orbital evolution. Based on current estimates of particle ejection rates, we find that the overall contribution to Bennu's spin and orbital drift is small or negligible as compared to the Yarkovsky and YORP effects. However, if there is a large unseen component of smaller mass ejections or a strong directionality in the ejection events, it could constitute a significant contribution that could mask the overall YORP effect. This means that the YORP effect may be stronger than currently assumed. The analysis is generalized so that the particle ejection effect can be assessed for other bodies that may be subject to similar mass loss events. Further, our model can be modified to address different potential mechanisms of particle ejection, which are a topic of ongoing study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019JE006284
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bennu
  • YORP
  • particle ejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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