UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Current bombardment of the Earth-Moon system : emphasis on cratering asymmetries Gallant, John

Abstract

We calculate the current spatial distribution of projectile delivery to the Earth and Moon using numerical orbital dynamics simulations of candidate impactors drawn from a debiased Near-Earth-Object (NEO) model. Surprisingly, we find that the average lunar impact velocity is 20 km/s, which has ramifications in converting observed crater densities to impactor size distributions. We determine that current crater production on the leading hemisphere of the Moon is 1.29 ± 0.01 that of the trailing when considering the ratio of craters within 30° of the apex to those within 30° of the antapex and that there is virtually no nearside-farside asymmetry. As expected, the degree of leading-trailing asymmetry increases when the Moon’s orbital distance is decreased. We examine the latitude distribution of impactor sites and find that for both the Earth and Moon there is a small deficiency of time-averaged impact rates at the poles. The ratio between deliveries within 30° of the pole to that of a 30° band centered on the equator is nearly unity for Earth (< 1%)(0.992 ± 0.001) but detectably non-uniform for the Moon (~10%) (0.912 ± 0.004). The terrestrial arrival results are examined to determine the degree of AM/PM asymmetry to compare with meteorite fall times (of which there seems to be a PM excess). Our results show that the impact flux of objects derived from the NEOs in the AM hours is ~2 times that of the PM hemisphere, further supporting the assertion that meteorite-dropping objects are recent ejections from the main asteroid belt rather than young fragments of NEOs.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data

License

For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.

Usage Statistics