British scientists conducted more than 100 detailed 3D simulations to assess different impacts.
British university researchers revealed what would happen if an Earth-like planet collided with another smaller at high speed, informs Durham University.
Using the supercomputer ‘COSMA’ (Cosmology Machine), scientists performed more than 100 detailed simulations in 3D of impacts of different space objects, altering their speed and angle each time, and determined how much atmosphere would be lost during each event.
According to a video, not only the highest speeds but also frontal collisions could cause erosion much greater than an indirect impact, to the point of being able to completely destroy the atmosphere and even part of the mantle, that is, the layer that is under the crust of a planet.
Furthermore, the researchers simulated how the Moon possibly appeared. Our planet’s only natural satellite is believed to have formed about 4.5 billion years ago as a result of a collision between early Earth and a giant impactor, possibly the size of Mars. According to scientists, Earth was lucky and only lost between 10 and 50% of its atmosphere.
“We know that planetary collisions can have a dramatic effect on a planet’s atmosphere, but this is the first time that we have been able to study in detail the wide variety of these ‘violent’ events.” he claimed Jacob Kegerreis, the lead author of the recent study, published in The Astrophysical Journal. To this he added that the results “will help to understand both the history of the Earth, as a habitable planet, and the evolution of exoplanets around other stars.”
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