Asteroids, comets and Kuiper belt

Definition

Asteroids, comets and Kuiper belt are bodies smaller than planets that orbit the sun. Asteroids are composed of metals and rock, whereas comets also contain ice and dust. The Kuiper belt is a collection of such bodies that orbits at the edge of the solar system.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Most of the Mars Trojans — asteroids co-orbiting the planet — are dynamically related; thus, they have a common origin. Joint information from spectral observations and dynamical modelling suggests that they were ejected from Mars itself after an impact.

    • D. Polishook
    • , S. A. Jacobson
    • , A. Morbidelli
    •  & O. Aharonson
  • Research | | open

    Abundant molecular oxygen was discovered recently in the coma of comet 67P, thought to be of primordial origin. Here, the authors propose a dynamic reaction mechanism for cometary comae, which produces O2 directly in single collisions of energetic water ions with oxidized cometary surface analogues.

    • Yunxi Yao
    •  & Konstantinos P. Giapis
  • Research |

    Despite evidence for an ice-rich outer shell, little water ice has been observed on the surface of Ceres. Lobate morphologies observed on Ceres that are increasingly prevalent towards the dwarf planet’s poles are consistent with ice-rich flows.

    • Britney E. Schmidt
    • , Kynan H. G. Hughson
    • , Heather T. Chilton
    • , Jennifer E. C. Scully
    • , Thomas Platz
    • , Andreas Nathues
    • , Hanna Sizemore
    • , Michael T. Bland
    • , Shane Byrne
    • , Simone Marchi
    • , David P. O’Brien
    • , Norbert Schorghofer
    • , Harald Hiesinger
    • , Ralf Jaumann
    • , Jan Hendrik Pasckert
    • , Justin D. Lawrence
    • , Debra Buzckowski
    • , Julie C. Castillo-Rogez
    • , Mark V. Sykes
    • , Paul M. Schenk
    • , Maria-Cristina DeSanctis
    • , Giuseppe Mitri
    • , Michelangelo Formisano
    • , Jian-Yang Li
    • , Vishnu Reddy
    • , Lucille LeCorre
    • , Christopher T. Russell
    •  & Carol A. Raymond
    Nature Geoscience 10, 338–343
  • Research |

    The discovery of several Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) with anomalous properties (they are blue-coloured, whereas KBOs of the same type are red, and they are all binaries) gives constraints on formation processes in the outermost region of the Solar System.

    • Wesley C. Fraser
    • , Michele T. Bannister
    • , Rosemary E. Pike
    • , Michael Marsset
    • , Megan E. Schwamb
    • , J. J. Kavelaars
    • , Pedro Lacerda
    • , David Nesvorný
    • , Kathryn Volk
    • , Audrey Delsanti
    • , Susan Benecchi
    • , Matthew J. Lehner
    • , Keith Noll
    • , Brett Gladman
    • , Jean-Marc Petit
    • , Stephen Gwyn
    • , Ying-Tung Chen
    • , Shiang-Yu Wang
    • , Mike Alexandersen
    • , Todd Burdullis
    • , Scott Sheppard
    •  & Chad Trujillo
  • Research |

    Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is a retrograde co-orbital asteroid of the planet Jupiter, stably orbiting in a sense opposite to that of Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun for around a million years.

    • Paul Wiegert
    • , Martin Connors
    •  & Christian Veillet
    Nature 543, 687–689

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