Abstract by Nathan Benfell
Physics and Astronomy
Testing Backwards Integration As A Method Of KBO Family-Finding and Age-Determination
The age of young asteroid collisional families is often determined by using reversed simulations (i.e. backwards integration) of the solar system. This method is not used for discovering young asteroid families and is limited by unpredictable factors unique to the Asteroid Belt (e.g. the Yarkovsky Effect). The Kuiper Belt is absent of these unpredictabilities, and thus we theorized that backwards integrations could be an advantageous method for both Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) family finding and characterization. My work thus far has centered on determining the most effective means of designing these simulations to ensure faithful reproductions of the actual solar system. After running several integrations, I will share what has been learned thus far regarding important parameters, potential pitfalls, and discovery potential.