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Paper: Main Belt Asteroids: Present and Future Inventory
Volume: 107, Completing the Inventory of the Solar System
Page: 29
Authors: Zappala, V.; Cellino, A.
Abstract: It is difficult to derive a precise inventory of the asteroids present in the main belt. This is due to the fact that a large fraction of the existing bodies have not been detected due to their faint apparent magnitudes. On the other hand, recent advances in asteroid science allow us to make more reliable estimates of the magnitude at which the available sample is nearly complete, and on the real trend of the underlying asteroid size distribution. The very important role played by asteroid families is extensively analyzed and discussed. Family members appear to dominate the asteroid population at small sizes, as impressively shown by some quantitative predictions of what will be the appearance of the asteroid inventory in the future. The importance of this conclusion from the point of view the asteroid collisional evolution is also discussed.
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