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In the context of possible colonization of Ceres, would not such colony be totally impossible because of high probability of collision of Ceres with other asteroids in the Asteroid Belt?

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  • $\begingroup$ asking if colonization is possible in such a situation seem more on topic at Space Exploration. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Oct 9 '14 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert Cartaino lol, calculation of the probability of collisions of a celestial bodies is off-topic??? Who other than an astronomer can calculate it? $\endgroup$ – Anixx Oct 9 '14 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ This probably could be reworded slightly to fit here. $\endgroup$ – user2449 Oct 9 '14 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Omen I was shocked it was marked off-topic because it is the first truly astronomical question I asked here (the others mostly concern astrophysics and/or cosmology). $\endgroup$ – Anixx Oct 9 '14 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ I have voted to reopen $\endgroup$ – user2449 Oct 9 '14 at 19:04
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Sadly, a well referenced answer to this question likely lies behind academic publisher paywalls. However, Wikipedia claims:

Collisions between main-belt bodies with a mean radius of 10 km are expected to occur about once every 10 million years.[63]

-Source for citation 63 has disappeared from the internet.

However, the Veritas asteroid cluster, and the Karin cluster reportedly formed by the collisional disruption of 140 km diameter and 25 km diameter diameter objects only 8.3 and 5.8 million years ago. These numbers obviously cast doubt on the Wikipedia claim.

This piece Small asteroid collisional characteristics from 2002 states:

Orbits of nearly 88,000 astreroids from the main belt are needed to find statistically one encounter within 1000 km distance during 50 years.

Naturally the more abundant smaller asteroids collide more frequently. In fact Hubble seems to have caught the aftermath of such an event back in 2010.

To answer the question. It seems Ceres will remain intact for some millions of years to come. But it does get hit fairly regularly, like the moon. If Ceres regularly took impacts large enough to preclude habitation, we'd expect to see co-orbiting debris clouds like the Veritas cluster, or in the 2010 Hubble images. We do not see such debris clouds near Ceres.

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  • $\begingroup$ See, an answer like this is why I voted to re-open the question. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 11 '14 at 20:32

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