Monday, July 29, 2013

1307.7062 (Justin C. Eiland et al.)

N-Body Simulation of the Formation of the Earth-Moon System from a Single Giant Impact    [PDF]

Justin C. Eiland, Travis C. Salzillo, Brett H. Hokr, Justin L. Highland, Bryant M. Wyatt
The giant impact hypothesis is the dominant theory of how the Earth-Moon system was formed. Models have been created that can produce a disk of debris with the proper mass and composition to create our Moon. Models have also been created which start with a disk of debris that eventually coalesces into a Moon. To date, no model has been created that produces a stable Earth-Moon system in a single simulation. Here we combine two recently published ideas in this field, along with a new gravity-centered model, and generate such a simulation. In addition, we show how the method can produce a heterogeneous, iron-deficient Moon made of mantle material from both colliding bodies, and a resultant Earth whose equatorial plane is significantly tilted off the ecliptic plane. The accuracy of the simulation adds credence to the theory that our Moon was born from the violent union of two heavenly bodies.
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