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Transition states in phase space are identified and shown to regulate the rate of escape of asteroids temporarily captured in circumplanetary orbits. The transition states, similar to those occurring in chemical reaction dynamics, are then used to develop a statistical semianalytical theory for the rate of escape of asteroids temporarily captured by Mars. Theory and numerical simulations are found to agree to better than 1%. These calculations suggest that further development of transition state theory in celestial mechanics, as an alternative to large-scale numerical simulations, will be a fruitful approach to mass transport calculations.

Source Citation

Jaffé, Charles., Ross, Shane D., Lo, Martin W., Marsden, Jerrold., Farrelly, David., & Uzer, T. (2002). Statistical Theory Of Asteroid Escape Rates. Physical Review Letters, 89(1).