Boulder exhumation and segregation by impacts on rubble-pile asteroids Articles uri icon


  • Ormö, Jens
  • Raducan, Sabina
  • Jutzi, Martin
  • Luther, Robert
  • Collins, Gareth
  • Wünnemann, Kai
  • Mora Rueda, Marcos
  • Hamann, Christopher

publication date

  • September 2022

start page

  • 117713


  • 117713


  • 594

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-821X


  • Small asteroids are often considered to be rubble-pile objects, and such asteroids may be the most likely type of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) to pose a threat to Earth. However, impact cratering on such bodies is complex and not yet understood. We perform three low-velocity (¿ 400 m/s) impact experiments in granular targets with and without projectile-size boulders. We conducted SPH simulations that closely reproduced the impact experiments.
    Our results suggest that cratering on heterogeneous targets displaces and ejects boulders, rather than fragmenting them, unless directly hit. We also see indications that as long as the energy required to disrupt the boulder is small compared to the kinetic energy of the impact, the disruption of boulders directly hit by the projectile may have minimal effect on the crater size.


  • dart mission; impact cratering; rubble-pile asteroids