Status Report

Number of near-Earth objects and formation of lunar craters over the last billion years

By SpaceRef Editor
November 3, 2020
Filed under , ,

S. I. Ipatov, E. A. Feoktistova, V. V. Svettsov

We compare the number of lunar craters larger than 15 km across and younger than 1.1 Ga to the estimates of the number of craters that could have been formed for 1.1 Ga if the number of near-Earth objects and their orbital elements during that time were close to the corresponding current values. The comparison was performed for craters over the entire lunar surface and in the region of the Oceanus Procellarum and maria on the near side of the Moon. In these estimates, we used the values of collision probabilities of near-Earth objects with the Moon and the dependences of the crater diameters on the impactor sizes. According to the estimates made by different authors, the number density of known Copernican craters with diameters D>15 km in mare regions is at least double the corresponding number for the remaining lunar surface. Our estimates do not contradict the growth in the number of near-Earth objects after probable catastrophic fragmentations of large main-belt asteroids, which may have occurred over the recent 300 Ma; however, they do not prove this increase. Particularly, they do not conflict with the inference made by Mazrouei et al. (2019) that 290 Ma ago the frequency of collisions of near-Earth asteroids with the Moon increased by 2.6 times. For a probability of a collision of an Earth-crossing object (ECO) with the Earth in a year equaled to 10^-8, our estimates of the number of craters agree with the model, according to which the number densities of the 15-km Copernican craters for the whole lunar surface would have been the same as that for mare regions if the data by Losiak et al. (2015) for D<30 km were as complete as those for D>30 km. With this collision probability of ECOs with the Earth and for this model, the cratering rate may have been constant over the recent 1.1 Ga.

Comments: 21 pages, 1 figure

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Journal reference: Solar System Research, 2020, v. 54, no. 5, 384-404

DOI: 10.1134/S0038094620050019

Cite as: arXiv:2011.00361 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2011.00361v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Sergei Ipatov

[v1] Sat, 31 Oct 2020 21:03:05 UTC (622 KB)

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