A NUMERICAL CHECK OF THE COLLISIONAL RESURFACING SCENARIO


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Abstract

We present a numerical investigation aimed at checking the so-called Collisional Resurfacing scenario (CR) through one important prediction it makes: do the observed inhomogeneities of color indexes within the Kuiper Belt (KB) match inhomogeneities in collision rates and efficiencies? To quantitatively answer this question, a deterministic model has been developed, which estimates the spatial distribution of the relative amount of collisional energy ΣEcin received by objects in the present Kuiper Belt. Several Kuiper Belt configurations have been explored. Results do show some similarities with color-index distributions within the observed belt, in particular a global correlation between high ΣEcin values and high orbital excitations. Nevertheless, for all tested simulations we find other features of the ΣEcin distributions that significantly depart from the spatial distribution of color-index inhomogeneities. The main problems are mainly too weak correlations with inclinations and too large ΣEcin for the plutinos. Whether these contradictions invalidate the whole CR scenario or not remains yet uncertain, since the physical processes at play are still far from being fully understood and the sample of available observational data is still relatively limited. However, it seems nevertheless that the scenario might not hold in its simple present form.

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