|Discovered by LINEAR|
Observation arc 7056 days (19.32 yr)
Discovery site Socorro
|Discovery date 13 November 1998|
Discovered 13 November 1998
Asteroid group Asteroid belt
|Minor planet category Martian L5 , Mars-crossing asteroid|
Aphelion 1.6771808 AU (250.90268 Gm)
Perihelion 1.3711043 AU (205.11428 Gm)
Discoverer Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research
Similar 2007 WD5, 5261 Eureka, Solar System, C/2013 A1, Sun
(101429) 1998 VF31 is a small asteroid that orbits near Mars's L5 Lagrangian point, on average trailing 60° behind it. Its orbit is highly stable, and was originally thought to be spectroscopically similar to 5261 Eureka, suggesting they may both be primordial Martian asteroids.
Spectroscopic observations through 2007 indicate that it has a large proportion of metal and achondrites on its surface (either with or without a mesosiderite contribution); which could also indicate that the surface regolith has undergone space weathering. These observations also reveal differences in the spectra with 5261 Eureka, suggesting they may not be related to each other after all.