DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 31. Cometary Nuclei and Dynamics
Oral, Chairs: D. Scheeres, C. Lisse, Thursday, November 29, 2001, 2:40-4:20pm, Regency E

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[31.05] How Activity Can Shape the Size Distribution of Cometary Nuclei?

N.H. Samarasinha (NOAO)

Small sub-km size cometary nuclei are more prone to breakups due to cometary activity when compared with larger nuclei. This will primarily manifest as rotationally induced breakups, while buildup of internal gas pressure (e.g., Samarasinha 2001) may also cause breakups. I will present relevant timescales for rotational breakups of representative cometary nuclei. I will also discuss how activity can affect the ultimate size distribution of cometary nuclei and the implications for NEOs of cometary origin - an issue which is of relevance for NEO hazard mitigation efforts.

References: Samarasinha, N.H. 2001. Icarus In Press.

This work is supported by NASA.

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