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Ice-on-Ice Impact Experiments

Authors
Journal
Icarus
0019-1035
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
113
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/icar.1995.1032

Abstract

Abstract Impact experiments, cratering and fragmentation, on water ice were performed in order to test the scaling laws previously constructed on rocks and sands for studying the collision process in the planetary history. The installation of a vertical gas gun in a cold room at -18°C (255 K) made it possible to use a projectile of water ice and to get the detailed mass distribution of ice fragments. Experimental results indicated the necessity for large modification of those scaling laws. Material dependence was investigated by using projectiles of ice, aluminum, and polycarbonate. Differences were observed in the morphology and efficiencies of cratering and in the energies required to initiate the fragmentation. Moreover, an abrupt increase of cratering efficiency, suggesting a change of excavation mechanism, was found at a critical diameter of spalled crater. The mass (size) distribution of small ice fragments obeyed a power law with an exponent significantly larger than that in rocks. The exponent was the same as that in Saturn's ring particles estimated from the data by the microwave occultation, which indicates a collisional disruption ring origin.

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