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Hypervelocity impacts in the Solar System: An experimental investigation on the fate of the impactor.

Avdellidou, Chrysoula (2016) Hypervelocity impacts in the Solar System: An experimental investigation on the fate of the impactor. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, CAPS. (KAR id:54994)

Language: English
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Collisions is one of the most important processes in the Solar System that have played a significant role in its evolution for 4.5 Gy. They are responsible for the formation of asteroid families, craters and regolith production on bodies surfaces. Moreover they pose a hazard for our planet's environment, human civilisation and space assets. Impacts have shaped the asteroids and their surfaces and recently there are indications that they are also responsible for the creation of multi-lithology asteroids.

The effectiveness of this process lies, apart from the collisional speed and angle, on the physical parameters of both the target and the impactor. A plethora of laboratory experiments are devoted to study the outcome of impacts, from low speeds of a few m/s to greater speeds of several km/s. In addition space missions; such as Deep Impact (NASA) in the past and AIDA (ESA/NASA) hopefully in the near future, are aiming to perform hyper-velocity impact experiments at large scales.

Although there is advance in our understanding of crater formation, target fragmentation and ejecta speeds, however the fate of the impactor is still very poorly constrained. Experiments so far were focused using materials not directly relevant to the composition of asteroids.

We start an investigation for the impactors' fate, by using lithological projectiles that impacted three different types of targets with different material and bulk porosities. For this experimental campaign was used the Light Gas Gun (LGG) of the Impact Group at the University of Kent. The study was focused on three main topics: i) the fragmentation of the impactor, ii) the implantation of exogenous material onto the target and iii) the inspection of the final state of the projectile.\\

This Thesis is divided in six Chapters. The first two, Chapters 1 and 2, are giving a review of recent advances of small bodies studies, the importance of collisions in the Solar System, and a brief description of the laboratory impact experiments, providing the current state of research on the fate of projectiles. Some open questions lead to the explanation of the aim of this study. In Chapter 3 are described the series of experiments performed, explaining the analysis methods were developed and the way that the main topics of fragmentation, implantation and characterisation of the impactor were studied. All the results for each one of these topics, along with the difficulties during the experimental procedure are provided in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5 we discuss the results giving the implications, attempting to place the outcome in the big picture of the small bodies collisions. In the last Chapter 6 there is a summary of this work, providing also possible future ideas for the continuation of this study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Price, Mark C.
Uncontrolled keywords: impacts, asteroids
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2016 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 15:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Avdellidou, Chrysoula.

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