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Impact ejecta exceeding lunar escape velocity

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Microrater frequencies caused by fast (≳ 3 km s−1) ejecta have been determined using secondary targets in impact experiments.

A primary projectile (steel sphere, diam 1.58 mm, mass 1.64 × 10−2 g) was shot in Duran glass with a velocity of 4.1 km s−1 by means of a light gas gun.

The angular distribution of the secondary crater number densities shows a primary maximum around 25°, and a secondary maximum at about 60° from the primary target surface. The fraction of mass ejected at velocities of ≳ 3 km s−1 is only a factor of 7.5 × 10−5 of the primary projectile mass.

A conservative calculation shows that the contribution of secondary microcraters (caused by fast ejecta) to primary microcrater densities on lunar rock surfaces (caused by interplanetary particles) is on the statistical average below 1% for any lunar surface orientation.

Calculation of the interplanetary dust flux enhancement caused by Moon ejecta turned out to be in good agreement with Lunar Explorer 35in situ measurements.

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Schneider, E. Impact ejecta exceeding lunar escape velocity. The Moon 13, 173–184 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00567514

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  • Lunar Surface
  • Escape Velocity
  • Interplanetary Dust
  • Steel Sphere
  • Lunar Rock