THE population of asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit is responsible for most of the terrestrial impacts of kilometre-size objects, of which there may be several per million years1. About 150 Earth-crossing asteroids are known, although many more are thought to exist2. Asteroids that come close to the Earth's orbit, but do not currently cross it, may also pose a threat if they evolve onto Earth-crossing orbits. The asteroid 433 Eros, with a dia-meter of ∼22 km and a perihelion of 1.13 AU (where 1 AU is the average distance of the Earth from the Sun), is the second-largest near-Earth asteroid3. Here we report a study of the dynamical evolution of Eros's orbit over a period of two million years. We identify an orbital resonance with Mars that has the potential to perturb Mars-crossing asteroids, such as Eros, onto Earth-crossing orbits; of eight trial orbits that closely match Eros's present orbital parameters, three become Earth-crossing on the timescale of our simulations, and one of these hits the Earth after 1.14 Myr. Although our simulations indicate no significant danger of a catastrophic impact by this large near-Earth asteroid during the next ∼105 years, such a collision is likely in the far future.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Bottke, W. F., Nolan, M. C., Greenberg, R. & Kolvoord, R. A. in Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids (ed. Gehrels, T.) 337–358 (Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, 1994).
Rabinowitz, D., Bowell, E., Shoemaker, E. & Muinonen, K. in Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids (ed. Gehrels, T.) 285–312 (Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, 1994).
McFadden, L.-A., Tholen, D. J. & Veeder, G. J. in Asteroids II (eds. Binzel, R. P., Gehrels, T. & Matthews, M. S.) 442–467 (Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, 1989).
Milani, A., Carpino, M., Hahn, G. & Nobili, A. M. Icarus 78, 212–269 (1989).
Chapman, C. R. & Morrison, D. Nature 367, 33–40 (1994).
Adushkin, V. V. & Nemchinov, I. V. in Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids (ed. Gehrels, T.) 721–778 (Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, 1994).
Alvarez, L., Alvarez, W., Asaro, F. & Michel, H. V. Science 208, 1095–1108 (1980).
Swisher, C. C. et al. Science 257, 954–958 (1992).
Whipple, A. L. Icarus 115, 347–353 (1995).
Tancredi, G. Ast. Astrophys. 299, 288–292 (1995).
Stoer, J. & Bulirsch, R. Introduction to Numerical Analysis (Springer, New York 1980).
Michel, P., Froeschlé, Ch. & Farinella, P. Astr. Astrophys. (in the press).
Froeschlé, Ch., Hahn, G., Gonczi, R., Morbidelli, A. & Farinella, P. Icarus 117, 45–61 (1995).
Farquhar, R. W., Dunham, D. W. & McAdams, J. V. paper AAS 95-378, presented at AAS/AIAA Conference, Halifax, Canada, 14–17 August (1995).
Chapman, C. R. Lunar Planet. Sci. XXVI, 229–230 (1995).
About this article
Cite this article
Michel, P., Farinella, P. & Froeschlé, C. The orbital evolution of the asteroid Eros and implications for collision with the Earth . Nature 380, 689–691 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/380689a0