(ORDO NEWS) — This is what would happen if the Earth crashed into another planet.
A new series of engaging animations created by the University of Durham supercomputer show what happens to an Earth-like planet with a thin atmosphere if it collides with another object.
The study could shed new light on how planets, including our own Earth, may have evolved in the early days of our solar system.
“We know that planetary collisions can have a significant impact on a planet’s atmosphere, but for the first time we can examine a wide range of these events in detail,” said Jacob Kegerreis, a researcher at Durham University and lead author of a study article published in the Astrophysical Journal last week. …
Simulations can help evaluate several hypotheses about the early evolution of nearby planets. In particular, this refers to the prevailing theory that the formation of the moon occurred when a planet the size of Mars collided with the Earth several billion years ago.
Analyzing the simulations, the researchers found that a sharp impact, like the one that was supposed to form the moon, resulted in much less loss of atmosphere compared to a head-on collision.
A direct blow would lead to the complete destruction of the atmosphere, taking with it part of the mantle. The results indicate that the Earth likely lost anywhere from ten to 50 percent of its atmosphere, depending on the type of impact.
“Despite the surprisingly diverse consequences that can come from different impact angles and velocities, we have found an easy way to predict how much atmosphere will be lost,” Kegerreis said. “This lays the groundwork for predicting atmospheric erosion from any giant impact that will affect planetary formation patterns in general.”
“Which, in turn, will help us understand the history of the Earth as a habitable planet and the evolution of exoplanets around other stars,” he added.
Contact us: [email protected]