Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Toutatis

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5213-1

Synonyms

Definition

Toutatis is a near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo class, with an orbit that crosses Earth’s orbit so that it is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid. With its 1:4 resonance with Earth’s orbit, it has been observed carefully since 1992 with astronomical telescopes and radar during its close flybys every 4 years. In 2012 it passed by the Earth within just 18 lunar distances, which will be the closest flyby for more than a century. During this flyby the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 2 observed Toutatis from a distance of less than 1 km and could see details down to a size of a couple of meters.

Toutatis is a stony type asteroid (S (IV)) with a density of about 2.5 g/cm3; it has an elongated shape (4.75 × 1.95 km) and seems to consist primarily of two large pieces, leading to speculation that the asteroid has a rubble-pile structure resulting from a large impact. Toutatis has a slow tumbling rotation with just one rotation per 5.4...

Keywords

Bioorganic Chemistry Large Impact Large Piece Earth Asteroid Astronomical Telescope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLR Institute of Planetary ResearchGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)Berlin-AdlershofGermany