Episodes of particle ejection from the surface of the active asteroid (101955) Bennu

D. S. Lauretta, C. W. Hergenrother, S. R. Chesley, J. M. Leonard, J. Y. Pelgrift, C. D. Adam, M. Al Asad, P. G. Antreasian, R. L. Ballouz, K. J. Becker, C. A. Bennett, B. J. Bos, W. F. Bottke, M. Brozović, H. Campins, H. C. Connolly, M. G. Daly, A. B. Davis, J. de León, D. N. DellaGiustinaC. Y. Drouet d’Aubigny, J. P. Dworkin, J. P. Emery, D. Farnocchia, D. P. Glavin, D. R. Golish, C. M. Hartzell, R. A. Jacobson, E. R. Jawin, P. Jenniskens, J. N. Kidd, E. J. Lessac-Chenen, J. Y. Li, G. Libourel, J. Licandro, A. J. Liounis, C. K. Maleszewski, C. Manzoni, B. May, L. K. McCarthy, J. W. McMahon, P. Michel, J. L. Molaro, M. C. Moreau, D. S. Nelson, W. M. Owen, B. Rizk, H. L. Roper, B. Rozitis, E. M. Sahr, D. J. Scheeres, J. A. Seabrook, S. H. Selznick, Y. Takahashi, F. Thuillet, P. Tricarico, D. Vokrouhlický, C. W.V. Wolner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Active asteroids are those that show evidence of ongoing mass loss. We report repeated instances of particle ejection from the surface of (101955) Bennu, demonstrating that it is an active asteroid. The ejection events were imaged by the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer) spacecraft. For the three largest observed events, we estimated the ejected particle velocities and sizes, event times, source regions, and energies. We also determined the trajectories and photometric properties of several gravitationally bound particles that orbited temporarily in the Bennu environment. We consider multiple hypotheses for the mechanisms that lead to particle ejection for the largest events, including rotational disruption, electrostatic lofting, ice sublimation, phyllosilicate dehydration, meteoroid impacts, thermal stress fracturing, and secondary impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaay354
Issue number6470
StatePublished - Dec 6 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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