TY - JOUR

T1 - Equilibrium points of heterogeneous small body in finite element method

AU - Wen, Tongge

AU - Zeng, Xiangyuan

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).

PY - 2023/3/1

Y1 - 2023/3/1

N2 - This paper presents a finite element method to search for equilibrium points around a heterogeneous small body, which degenerates from the full two-body problem in finite element form. The gravitational potential, acceleration, gravitational gradient matrix, and the linearized perturbation equation, which are key formulas for solving the equilibrium points and discriminating their stabilities, are interpolated by the tetrahedral model nodes of the small body. The finite element method could capture the complex internal structures of small bodies and provide a uniform and simple formula for various configurations. The method is applied to the Kuiper Belt Object (486958) Arrokoth, which is a contact binary asteroid. Three types of heterogeneous structures are hypothesized to investigate the evolutions of equilibrium points, namely density disparity of two sub-lobes, hardcore structure, and cavity structure. Under the condition of constant Arrokoth mass, the density disparity of the two sub-lobes greatly influences the local gravitational field. It thus has a significant influence on the positions of equilibrium points. The hardcore and cavity structures have less impact on the equilibrium points. These three simulation groups verified that the equilibrium points of a heterogeneous small body are quite different from those of a homogeneous small body. Such investigation of the equilibrium points may give an in-depth understanding of the dynamical environment around the heterogeneous small body, which is significant for future deep-space missions.

AB - This paper presents a finite element method to search for equilibrium points around a heterogeneous small body, which degenerates from the full two-body problem in finite element form. The gravitational potential, acceleration, gravitational gradient matrix, and the linearized perturbation equation, which are key formulas for solving the equilibrium points and discriminating their stabilities, are interpolated by the tetrahedral model nodes of the small body. The finite element method could capture the complex internal structures of small bodies and provide a uniform and simple formula for various configurations. The method is applied to the Kuiper Belt Object (486958) Arrokoth, which is a contact binary asteroid. Three types of heterogeneous structures are hypothesized to investigate the evolutions of equilibrium points, namely density disparity of two sub-lobes, hardcore structure, and cavity structure. Under the condition of constant Arrokoth mass, the density disparity of the two sub-lobes greatly influences the local gravitational field. It thus has a significant influence on the positions of equilibrium points. The hardcore and cavity structures have less impact on the equilibrium points. These three simulation groups verified that the equilibrium points of a heterogeneous small body are quite different from those of a homogeneous small body. Such investigation of the equilibrium points may give an in-depth understanding of the dynamical environment around the heterogeneous small body, which is significant for future deep-space missions.

KW - celestial mechanics

KW - gravitation

KW - methods numerical

KW - minor planets, asteroids: general

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85159851510&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/mnras/stad119

DO - 10.1093/mnras/stad119

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85159851510

SN - 0035-8711

VL - 519

SP - 6077

EP - 6087

JO - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

JF - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

IS - 4

ER -