Internal rubble properties of asteroid (101955) Bennu

P. Tricarico, D. J. Scheeres, A. S. French, J. W. McMahon, D. N. Brack, J. M. Leonard, P. Antreasian, S. R. Chesley, D. Farnocchia, Y. Takahashi, E. M. Mazarico, D. Rowlands, D. Highsmith, K. Getzandanner, M. Moreau, C. L. Johnson, L. Philpott, E. B. Bierhaus, K. J. Walsh, O. S. BarnouinE. E. Palmer, J. R. Weirich, R. W. Gaskell, M. G. Daly, J. A. Seabrook, M. C. Nolan, D. S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Exploration of asteroid (101955) Bennu by the OSIRIS-REx mission has provided an in-depth look at this rubble-pile near-Earth asteroid. In particular, the measured gravity field and the detailed shape model of Bennu indicate significant heterogeneities in its interior structure, compatible with a lower density at its center. Here we combine gravity inversion methods with a statistical rubble-pile model to determine the density and size-frequency distribution (SFD) index of the rubble that constitutes Bennu. The best-fitting models indicate that the SFD of the interior is consistent with that observed on the surface, with a cumulative SFD index of approximately −2.9. The rubble bulk density is approximately 1.35 g/cm3, corresponding to a 12% macro-porosity. We find the largest rubble particle to be approximately 145 m, whereas the largest void is approximately 10 m.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114665
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Bennu
  • Interior structure of asteroids
  • Meteorites
  • Near-Earth asteroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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