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Impact cratering experiments into highly porous bodies

Gibbings, Alison and Vasile, Massimiliano (2011) Impact cratering experiments into highly porous bodies. In: IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Protecting Earth from Asteroids: From threat to Action, 2011-05-09 - 2011-05-12.

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Abstract

Asteroids represent both an opportunity and a risk. Their pristine environment captures the early collision evolution of the solar system; while their inherent ground impact potential could result in the mass extinction of life. Amongst the many possibilities of asteroid deflection, kinematic impactors have been theoretically proven to be a promising technique. However, this is primarily based on modelling rocky, brittle bodies. Little experimental consideration has been made for highly porous bodies. Therefore to advance current mitigation scenarios a series of experiments have been conducted. Under an accelerated reference frame this aimed to assess the impact cratering response of highly porous asteroids. All events were examined relative to the increasing levels of porosity and the impact’s resultant morphological profile. This included crater shape and depth, and the ejecta profile. The latter was considered critical in assessing the overall contribution to the momentum enhancement exchange of any kinematic impact event.