Status Report

Mars’ Growth Stunted by an Early Giant Planet Instability

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2018
Filed under , ,

Matthew S. Clement, Nathan A. Kaib, Sean N. Raymond, Kevin J. Walsh
(Submitted on 11 Apr 2018)

Many dynamical aspects of the solar system can be explained by the outer planets experiencing a period of orbital instability sometimes called the Nice Model. Though often correlated with a perceived delayed spike in the lunar cratering record known as the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), recent work suggests that this event may have occurred much earlier; perhaps during the epoch of terrestrial planet formation. While current simulations of terrestrial accretion can reproduce many observed qualities of the solar system, replicating the small mass of Mars requires modification to standard planet formation models. Here we use 800 dynamical simulations to show that an early instability in the outer solar system strongly influences terrestrial planet formation and regularly yields properly sized Mars analogs. Our most successful outcomes occur when the terrestrial planets evolve an additional 1-10 million years (Myr) following the dispersal of the gas disk, before the onset of the giant planet instability. In these simulations, accretion has begun in the Mars region before the instability, but the dynamical perturbation induced by the giant planets’ scattering removes large embryos from Mars’ vicinity. Large embryos are either ejected or scattered inward toward Earth and Venus (in some cases to deliver water), and Mars is left behind as a stranded embryo. An early giant planet instability can thus replicate both the inner and outer solar system in a single model.

Comments:    18 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in Icarus
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1804.04233 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1804.04233v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Matthew Clement
[v1] Wed, 11 Apr 2018 21:37:52 GMT (1084kb,D)

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