Browsing Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 44, Number 12 (2009) by Subjects
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The formation of the Baptistina family by catastrophic disruption: Porous versus non-porous parent bodyIn this paper, we present numerical simulations aimed at reproducing the Baptistina family based on its properties estimated by observations. A previous study by Bottke et al. (2007) indicated that this family is probably at the origin of the K/T impactor, is linked to the CM meteorites and was produced by the disruption of a parent body 170 km in size due to the head-on impact of a projectile 60 km in size at 3 km s^(-1). This estimate was based on simulations of fragmentation of non-porous materials, while the family was assumed to be of degrees C taxonomic type, which is generally interpreted as being formed from a porous body. Using both a model of fragmentation of non-porous materials, and a model that we developed recently for porous ones, we performed numerical simulations of disruptions aimed at reproducing this family and at analyzing the differences in the outcome between those two models. Our results show that a reasonable match to the estimated size distribution of the real family is produced from the disruption of a porous parent body by the head-on impact of a projectile 54 km in size at 3 km s^(-1). Thus, our simulations with a model consistent with the assumed dark type of the family requires a smaller projectile than previously estimated, but the difference remains small enough to not affect the proposed scenario of this family history. We then find that the break-up of a porous body leads to different outcomes than the disruption of a non-porous one. The real properties of the Baptistina family still contain large uncertainties, and it remains possible that its formation did not involve the proposed impact conditions. However, the simulations presented here already show some range of outcomes and once the real properties are better constrained, it will be easy to check whether one of them provides a good match.