Project Report

We conducted numerical simulations to examine the possibility of forming the moons of Mars from a giant impact. Giant impacts have been suggested as a means of forming the dichotomy in crustal thickness on the surface of Mars. We examine the possibility that such an impact could form the moons of Mars. We used a SPH hydrocode to examine the amount of debris produced from giant impacts on Mars. SPH simulations of 10^5, 3*10^5 and 10^6 particles were used to conduct simulations. Simulations with a large number of particles (> 3*10^5) are likely necessary to fully understand the feasibility of creating the moons of Mars via a giant impact. Because of the time required to run such simulations, we are continuing to run and analyze the results of these simulations. Preliminary simulations suggest that enough material is produced in these impacts to form the moons of Mars. This result is interesting because if missions are sent to Phobos/Deimos and determine that they have similar composition to Mars, it could confirm if a giant impact occured on Mars. Furthermore, the amount of material produced in giant impacts on Mars can determine if more moons were initially formed, which then reimpacted the surface of Mars.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
Application #
1107883
Program Officer
Carter Kimsey
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-06-01
Budget End
2012-05-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$5,700
Indirect Cost
Name
Citron Robert
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Boulder
State
CO
Country
United States
Zip Code
80302