Stochastic Late Accretion to Earth, the Moon, and Mars

Citation:
Bottke, WF, Walker RJ, Day JMD, Nesvorny D, Elkins-Tanton L.  2010.  Stochastic Late Accretion to Earth, the Moon, and Mars. Science. 330:1527-1530.

Date Published:

Dec

Keywords:

asteroid belt, constraints, core formation, differentiation, mantle, meteorites, origin, osmium isotope, siderophile element systematics, silicate

Abstract:

Core formation should have stripped the terrestrial, lunar, and martian mantles of highly siderophile elements (HSEs). Instead, each world has disparate, yet elevated HSE abundances. Late accretion may offer a solution, provided that >= 0.5% Earth masses of broadly chondritic planetesimals reach Earth's mantle and that similar to 10 and similar to 1200 times less mass goes to Mars and the Moon, respectively. We show that leftover planetesimal populations dominated by massive projectiles can explain these additions, with our inferred size distribution matching those derived from the inner asteroid belt, ancient martian impact basins, and planetary accretion models. The largest late terrestrial impactors, at 2500 to 3000 kilometers in diameter, potentially modified Earth's obliquity by similar to 10 degrees, whereas those for the Moon, at similar to 250 to 300 kilometers, may have delivered water to its mantle.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1126/science.1196874