Impact and collisional processes in the solar system


The mechanical and thermodynamic aspects of shock impact cratering and accretionary processes on solid planets and satellites are being investigated experimentally. The recently proposed model of Melosh, describing the physics controlling the size and velocity of only lightly shocked spalled ejecta surrounding the crushed rock region of an impact crater, was studied at the Ames gun facility. Spall velocity measurements using lead and aluminum bullets were conducted. In addition, shock temperatures of silicates and volatile-bearing minerals were measured using radiative techniques. Finally impact devolatilization of minerals and accretion of planetary atmospheres were examined. Measurements of the release isentropes of CaCO3 were carried out. The effect on the water budgets of planets of reactions which occur when metallic iron (which would be present in chondritic material) is introduced into a simple accretion model is under investigation

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