J. L. Highland
Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy
Volume 35 Issue 4 December 2014 pp 607-618
Recent giant impact models focus on producing a circumplanetary disk of the proper composition around the Earth and defer to earlier works for the accretion of this disk into the Moon. The discontinuity between creating the circumplanetary disk and accretion of the Moon is unnatural and lacks simplicity. In addition, current giant impact theories are being questioned due to their inability to find conditions that will produce a system with both the proper angular momentum and a resultant Moon that is isotopically similar to the Earth. Here we return to first principles and produce a continuous model that can be used to rapidly search the vast impact parameter space to identify plausible initial conditions. This is accomplished by focusing on the three major components of planetary collisions: constant gravitational attraction, short range repulsion and energy transfer. The structure of this model makes it easily parallelizable and well-suited to harness the power of modern Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). The model makes clear the physically relevant processes, and allows a physical picture to naturally develop. We conclude by demonstrating how the model readily produces stable Earth–Moon systems from a single, continuous simulation. The resultant systems possess many desired characteristics such as an iron-deficient, heterogeneously-mixed Moon and accurate axial tilt of the Earth.
Volume 40 | Issue 4
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