On the Impact Origin of Phobos and Deimos II: True Polar Wander and Disk Evolution

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ryuki Hyodo, Pascal Rosenblatt, Hidenori Genda, Sébastien Charnoz
(Submitted on 7 Nov 2017)

Phobos and Deimos are the two small Martian moons, orbiting almost on the equatorial plane of Mars. Recent works have shown that they can accrete within an impact-generated inner dense and outer light disk, and that the same impact potentially forms the Borealis basin, a large northern hemisphere basin on the current Mars. However, there is no a priori reason for the impact to take place close to the north pole (Borealis present location) nor to generate a debris disk in the equatorial plane of Mars (in which Phobos and Deimos orbit). In this paper, we investigate these remaining issues on the giant impact origin of the Martian moons. First, we show that the mass deficit created by the Borealis impact basin induces a global reorientation of the planet to realign its main moment of inertia with the rotation pole (True Polar Wander). This moves the location of the Borealis basin toward its current location. Next, using analytical arguments, we investigate the detailed dynamical evolution of the eccentric inclined disk from the equatorial plane of Mars that is formed by the Martian-moon-forming impact. We find that, as a result of precession of disk particles due to the Martian dynamical flattening J2 term of its gravity field and particle-particle inelastic collisions, eccentricity and inclination are damped and an inner dense and outer light equatorial circular disk is eventually formed. Our results strengthen the giant impact origin of Phobos and Deimos that can finally be tested by a future sample return mission such as JAXA's Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.

Comments:    13 pages, 5 figures. Accepted for publication in ApJ
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as:    arXiv:1711.02334 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1711.02334v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ryuki Hyodo 
[v1] Tue, 7 Nov 2017 08:30:51 GMT (447kb)

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