Initial Orbit Determination and Event Reconstruction From Estimation of Particle Trajectories About (101955) Bennu

J. M. Leonard, C. D. Adam, J. Y. Pelgrift, E. J. Lessac-Chenen, D. S. Nelson, P. G. Antreasian, A. J. Liounis, M. C. Moreau, C. W. Hergenrother, S. R. Chesley, M. C. Nolan, D. S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The OSIRIS-REx mission has observed multiple instances of particles being ejected from the surface of near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu. The ability to quickly identify the particle trajectories and origins is necessary following a particle ejection event. Using proven initial orbit determination techniques, we can rapidly estimate particle trajectories and ejection locations. We present current results pertaining to the identification of particle tracks, an evaluation of the estimated orbits and the excess velocity necessary to induce the particle ejection from the surface, and the uncertainty quantification of the ejection location. We estimate energies per particle ranging from 0.03 to 11.03 mJ for the largest analyzed events and velocities ranging from 5 to 90 cm/s, though we exclude the highest-velocity particles in this technique. We estimate ejection times for eight events and constrain six of the analyzed ejection events to have occurred between about 16:30 and 19:00 local solar time, with the largest events occurring between 16:30 and 18:05.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019EA000937
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Bennu ejection activity
  • active asteroids
  • particle ejection events
  • particle trajectory reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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