Possibility of Self-Sustaining Bombardment of Inner Planets

  • E. M. Drobyshevski
Conference paper


The great strengthening the material undergoes under high confining pressure, and jet pattern of matter outflowing from large impact craters make possible the ejection of asteroid-size bodies from the Earth into space. The ejected bodies, after gaining energy in planetary perturbations, may fall back with a velocity higher than that of their ejection. This solves, in particular, the problem of shower bombardments with ~ 25 Myr interval (Drobyshevski, Sov. Astron. Let. 16(3), 193, 1990), and a question arises whether this process could become self-sustained, like a chain reaction, when secondary impacts release an energy higher than that of primary impact. Estimates show that such a possibility could have been realized for Mercury (Drobyshevski, Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. Abstr. 23(1), 317, 1992) due to its low escape and high orbital velocities. Self-sustained bombardment can account for the loss of the silicate mantle from Mercury. The energy and angular momentum conservation laws imply that its orbit contracted toward the Sun in the course of ejection of the mantle fragments by Mercury’s perturbations beyond its orbit. Straightforward calculations show the initial orbit to have practically coincided with the Venusian orbit. This puts the old hypothesis of Mercury being a lost satellite of Venus on a solid ground and provides an explanation for many facts from the origin of the Imbrium bombardment to the observed locks in the axial and orbital rotation of Mercury, Venus, and the Earth.


Impact Crater Lunar Planet Secondary Impact High Confine Pressure Silicate Mantle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beresnev, B.I., and Trushin, E.V. 1976, Process of Hydroextrusion, Publ. Nauka, Moscow, 200 p. (in Russian).Google Scholar
  2. Binzel, R.P., and Xu, S. 1993, Science 260, 186–191.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Bottke, W.F., Jr., Nolan, M.C., Greenberg, R., Vickery, A.M., and Melosh, H.J.1994, in Abstracts for Small Bodies in the Solar System and their Interactions with the Planets, Reprocentralen HSC, Uppsala, p. 18.Google Scholar
  4. Chandrasekhar, S. 1942, Principles of Stellar Dynamics, Univ. of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Drobyshevski, E.M. 1978, Moon Planets 18, 145–194.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Drobyshevski, E.M. 1990, Sov. Astron. Lett. 16, 193–196.ADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Drobyshevski, E.M. 1992a, 23 Lunar Planet Sci. Conf. Abstr. 1, 317–318.ADSGoogle Scholar
  8. Drobyshevski, E.M. 1992b, Sov. Astron. 36, 436–443.ADSGoogle Scholar
  9. Drobyshevski, E.M. 1995, Int. J. Impact Engng. 17 (in press).Google Scholar
  10. Drobyshevski, E.M., Zhukov, B.G., Rozov, S.I., Sokolov, V.M., Kurakin, R.O., and Savelyev, M.A.1990, Sov. Tech. Phys. Lett. 16, 468–469.Google Scholar
  11. Kinsland, G.L., and Bassett, W.A.1977, J. Appl. Phys. 48, 978–985.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  12. Kondo, K., and Ahrens, T.J.1983, Phys. Chem. Minerals 9, 173–186.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  13. McSween, Jr., H.Y. 1985, Revs. Geophysics 23, 391–416.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  14. Meada, C., and Jeanloz, R. 1990, Nature 348, 533-535.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  15. Melosh, H.J. 1993, Nature 363, 498-499.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  16. O’Keefe, J.D., and Ahrens, T.J. 1977, Science 198, 1249-1251.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  17. Rabinowitz, D.L.1993, Astrophys. J. 407, 412–427.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  18. Shoemaker, E.M.: 1977, in Impact and Explosion Cratering (eds. D.J. Roddy, P.O. Pepin, R.B. Merill), Pergamon Press, pp. 1-10.Google Scholar
  19. Shoemaker, E.M., and Wolfe, R.E. 1982, in Satellites of Jupiter (ed. D. Morrison), Univ. Ariz. Press, Tucson, pp. 277–339.Google Scholar
  20. Van Flandern, T.C., and Harrington, R.S. 1976, Icarus 28, 435–440.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  21. Vickery, A.M.1986, J. Geophys. Res. 91, 14139–14160.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  22. Wetherill, G.W. 1984, Meteoritics 19, 1–13.ADSGoogle Scholar
  23. Yabushita, S. 1994, in Abstracts for Small Bodies in the Solar System and their Interactions with the Planets, Reprocentralen HSC, Uppsala, p. 176.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. M. Drobyshevski
    • 1
  1. 1.A.F.Ioffe Physico-Technical InstituteThe Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations