The ice-organic-silicate contents of small Solar system bodies: indicators for a comet to asteroid evolutionary pathway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Comets and asteroids have traditionally been separated categories, but main belt comets skew this view, portraying a possible intermediate stage between these two end members. Investigating the relationship between these bodies can improve our understanding of the formation and evolution of the Solar system and help to identify potentially interesting parent bodies from within our Solar system, for future sample return missions. Furthermore, elucidating the ice-organic-silicate ratios of potential meteorite parent bodies can help to explain the observed isotopic ratios and petrography of meteorite samples. While the ice-organic-silicate ratios of particular bodies have been estimated, there has been no study undertaken which compares different types of bodies in terms of their ice-organic-silicate ratios. Therefore, this study presents a geophysical-chemical mass balance model, to estimate the ice-organic-silicate ratios of comets, main belt comets, and asteroids. The results drawn from the model form a diagonal trend upon an ice-organic-silicate ternary diagram, in which comets and main belt comets plot together at generally higher ice contents, with asteroids typically plotting at lower ice contents. However, an overlap between all three body types is observed and supports the scenario in which comets, main belt comets, and asteroids are genetically linked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3734-3741
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Kuiper belt: general
  • comets: general
  • methods: data analysis
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • planets and satellites: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The ice-organic-silicate contents of small Solar system bodies: indicators for a comet to asteroid evolutionary pathway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this