- Physics and Astronomy; Earth and Planetary Sciences
Some asteroids contain water ice, and a space mission landing on an asteroid may take liquid to the surface of the asteroid. Gas pressure is very weak on the surface of asteroids. Here we consider the capillary action in a crack on the surface of irregular asteroids. The crack is modeled as a capillary which has a fixed radius. An asteroid's irregular gravitational potential influences the height of the liquid in the capillary. The height of the liquid in the capillary on the surface of such asteroids is derived from the asteroid's irregular gravitational potential. Capillary mechanisms are expected to produce an inhomogeneaous distribution of emergent liquid on the surface. This result is applied to asteroid 433 Eros, which has an irregular, elongated, and concave shape. Two cases are considered: (1) we calculate the height of the liquid in the capillary when the direction of the capillary is perpendicular to the local surface of the asteroid; (2) we calculate the height of the liquid in the capillary when the direction of the capillary is parallel to the vector from the center of mass to the surface position. The projected height in the capillary on the local surface of the asteroid seems to depend on the assumed direction of the capillary.