AuthorDykhuis, Melissa Joy
AdvisorGreenberg, Richard J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe inner main asteroid belt is an important source of near-Earth objects and terrestrial planet impactors; however, the dynamics and history of this region are challenging to understand, due to its high population density and the presence of multiple orbital resonances. This dissertation explores the properties of two of the most populous inner main belt family groups - the Flora family and the Nysa-Polana complex - investigating their memberships, ages, spin properties, collision dynamics, and range in orbital and reflectance parameters. Though diffuse, the family associated with asteroid (8) Flora dominates the inner main belt in terms of the extent of its members in orbital parameter space, resulting in its significant overlap with multiple neighboring families. This dissertation introduces a new method for membership determination (the core sample method) which enables the distinction of the Flora family from the background, permitting its further analysis. The Flora family is shown to have a signature in plots of semimajor axis vs. size consistent with that expected for a collisional family dispersed as a result of the Yarkovsky radiation effect. The family's age is determined from the Yarkovsky dispersion to be 950 My. Furthermore, a survey of the spin sense of 21 Flora-region asteroids, accomplished via a time-efficient modification of the epoch method for spin sense determination, confirms the single-collision Yarkovsky-dispersed model for the family's origin. The neighboring Nysa-Polana complex is the likely source region for many of the carbonaceous near-Earth asteroids, several of which are important targets for spacecraft reconnaissance and sample return missions. Family identification in the Nysa-Polana complex via the core sample method reveals two families associated with asteroid (135) Hertha, both with distinct age and reflectance properties. The larger of these two families demonstrates a correlation in semimajor axis and eccentricity indicating that its family-forming collision occurred near the parent body's aphelion. In addition, the Eulalia family is connected with a possible second component, suggesting an anisotropic distribution of ejecta from its collision event.
Degree ProgramGraduate College