Dynamics of Granular Asteroids Ishan Shrma, James T. Jenkins, Joseph A. Burns Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 -------------------------------------- Recent research has led to the now accepted view that most asteroids are not coherent solid objects but are, in fact, loose conglomerates, best described as gravel piles. Compared to solid objects, granular ones tend to deform more and, possibly, to dissipate more energy. Both these facts might have a significant influence on the dynamics and shape of granular asteroids. To study the dynamics of a granular asteroid, we begin by assuming that the asteroid deformes homogeneously. We then consider different kinds of material behaviours. For example, we model the granular pile as a collection of colliding, inelastic, rigid spheres or as a dense packing of frictional spheres in contact. The type of dynamical situations we consider include pure spin about a principal inertia axis, free Eulerian precession, and planetary fly-by's. In these, we determine the position and velocity of the center of mass and/or the homogeneous deformation as functions of time.