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Effects of mass transfer between Martian satellites on surface geology

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OSTP Journal Article

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Air Force Institute of Technology Wright Patterson AFB United States

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Impacts on planetary bodies can lead to both prompt secondary craters and projectiles that reimpact the target body or nearby companions after an extended period, producing so-called sesquinary craters. Here we examine sesquinary cratering on the moons of Mars. We model the impact that formed Voltaire, the largest crater on the surface of Deimos, and explore the orbital evolution of resulting high-velocity ejecta across 500 years using four-body physics and particle tracking.The bulk of mass transfer to Phobos occurs in the first 102 years after impact, while reaccretion of ejectato Deimos is predicted to continue out to a 104 year timescale cf. Soter, S. 1971. Studies of theTerrestrial Planets. Cornell University. Relative orbital geometry between Phobos and Deimos plays asignificant role depending on the relative true longitude, mass transfer between the moons can change by a factor of five. Of the ejecta with a velocity range capable of reaching Phobos, 2542 by mass reaccretes to Deimos and 1221 impacts Phobos. Ejecta mass transferred to Mars is 10.We find that the characteristic impact velocity of sesquinaries on Deimos is an order of magnitude smaller than those of background heliocentric hypervelocity impactors and will likely result in different crater morphologies. The time-averaged flux of Deimos material to Phobos can be as high as 11 of the background heliocentric direct-to-Phobos impactor flux. This relatively minor contribution suggests that spectrally red terrain on Phobos Murchie, S., Erard, S. 1996. Icarus 123, 6386 is not caused by Deimos material. However the high-velocity ejecta mass reaccreted to Deimos from a Voltaire-sized impact is comparable to the expected back ground mass accumulated on Deimos between Voltaire-sizeevents. Considering that the high-velocity ejecta contains only 0.5 of the total mass sent into orbit, sesquinary ejecta from a Voltaire-sized impact could feasibly resurface large parts of the Moon,

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