Hemispherical differences in the shape and topography of asteroid (101955) Bennu

M. G. Daly, O. S. Barnouin, J. A. Seabrook, J. Roberts, C. Dickinson, K. J. Walsh, E. R. Jawin, E. E. Palmer, R. Gaskell, J. Weirich, T. Haltigin, D. Gaudreau, C. Brunet, G. Cunningham, P. Michel, Y. Zhang, R. L. Ballouz, G. Neumann, M. E. Perry, L. PhilpottM. M. Al Asad, C. L. Johnson, C. D. Adam, J. M. Leonard, J. L. Geeraert, K. Getzandanner, M. C. Nolan, R. T. Daly, E. B. Bierhaus, E. Mazarico, B. Rozitis, A. J. Ryan, D. N. Dellaguistina, B. Rizk, H. C.M. Susorney, H. L. Enos, D. S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We investigate the shape of near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu by constructing a high-resolution (20 cm) global digital terrain model from laser altimeter data. By modeling the northern and southern hemispheres separately, we find that longitudinal ridges previously identified in the north extend into the south but are obscured there by surface material. In the south, more numerous large boulders effectively retain surface materials and imply a higher average strength at depth to support them. The north has fewer large boulders and more evidence of boulder dynamics (toppling and downslope movement) and surface flow. These factors result in Bennu's southern hemisphere being rounder and smoother, whereas its northern hemisphere has higher slopes and a less regular shape. We infer an originally asymmetric distribution of large boulders followed by a partial disruption, leading to wedge formation in Bennu's history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabd3649
JournalScience Advances
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 7 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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